15 min read

Beehiiv vs MailerLite: a guide to pick the perfect newsletter tool

MailerLite logo and beehiiv logo featured image.

If you're looking for a comparison of beehiiv vs MailerLite, you're probably looking for a ConvertKit alternative.

Beehiiv and MailerLite are 2 respectable tools for both beginners and professional users, as you are about to read. But they have lots of differences.

In this article, you will find how they compare on customization, pricing, ways to monetize your content, SEO, and more.

I'm Tiago Silva, and what you are about to read is based on my experience of being a creator since 2020. The goal is to give you the best info to help you pick the right tool for your newsletter, while I write about something I enjoy.

Now, let's see how good beehiiv and MailerLite are!

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Affiliate Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. My content is supported by readers like you. So if you buy after clicking on a link, I get a commission without costing you extra. 😊

Beehiiv vs MailerLite Summary

beehiiv and MailerLite are 2 great newsletter options for creators with some differences.

The main difference is that beehiiv is a more complete tool for creators who want to have a blog and newsletter in the same place, while MailerLite is one of the cheaper newsletter tools in the market.

The main similarities are that both MailerLite and beehiiv have good customization, are easy to use, and allow integrations with other tools, giving lots of freedom to users.

Beehiiv is more suited for creators looking only to use 1 tool to publish their blog and newsletter, and want to monetize their content via memberships and advertisement. I would say beehiiv is more suited for advanced users than beginners.

MailerLite is better suited for creators with an existing blog looking just for a powerful newsletter tool with good prices. While MailerLite is one of the best choices for beginners, it is still suited for advanced users making a living online.

Best for Pros
beehiiv
  • Content creation: 9.2
  • Customization: 6.8
  • SEO: 7.8
  • Growth: 10
  • Management: 9.5
  • Monetization: 7.8
  • Overall Rating: 9.6
Best for Beginners
MailerLite
  • Content creation: 8.2
  • Customization: 10
  • SEO: 6.3
  • Growth: 7.8
  • Management: 7.5
  • Monetization: 6.5
  • Overall Rating: 8.5

beehiiv overview

Beehiiv is a newsletter tool with blogging capabilities. This means you can use it to publish different content in the same place.

Beehiiv is a no-code solution for creators who want to focus on writing without having to deal with technical configuration and is probably the best Substack alternative available.

Things I like about beehiiv:

  • Nothing to install;
  • Free plan (up to 2,500 subscribers);
  • 0% membership fees;
  • Do everything without code;
  • Works as blog + newsletter;
  • Good email analytics;
  • Amazing newsletter design customization;
  • Multiple newsletters in the same account;
  • Referral program;
  • Integrations;

Things I don't like about beehiiv:

  • The free plan is extremely limited;
  • Average website customization;
  • Custom domain only on paid plans;

MailerLite overview

MailerLite is one of the cheaper options to run a newsletter in the market.

This service has been around since 2005 and has great customization while still being easy to use.

In recent times, it has also been improving as a blogging tool, making it easier for creators to publish their content from a single platform.

MailerLite is the email service I use for my newsletter!

Things I like about MailerLite:

  • Great free plan (up to 1,000 subscribers);
  • Email automation;
  • Great templates and customization options (with and without code);
  • Multiple newsletters in the same account.
  • Good email analytics;
  • Integrations;
  • 0% fees;

Things I don't like about MailerLite:

  • Blogging capabilities need improvement;
  • Paid memberships has flaws;
  • Requires physical address to enable sending.
  • Incomplete SEO features;


Other comparisons you might be interested

Substack vs beehiiv - the modern platforms for newsletters
Combining newsletters with blogs is becoming popular. But are they any good?
Ghost vs Substack - making money with memberships
A comparison between two content heavyweights. Substack made newsletters cool again. Ghost is powering independent creators to earn more.

Content Creation

Here I'm looking at how easy it is to start and create posts on each platform.

Now, I'll explore the process of creating content with each tool.

Content Creation Experience on beehiiv

The content creation on beehiiv is great. The editor is clean, easy to use and works well.

beehiiv's text editor to write posts and newsletters.
beehiiv's text editor to create content.

Clicking on the plus icon from within the editor gives you access to features like:

  • Recommend other newsletters;
  • Paywall the rest of the post;
  • Text formatting;
  • Custom HTML;
  • AI writer;
  • Buttons;
  • Polls;

On the right sidebar, you can find all the other customization options for the post, including SEO settings, post-delivery type, and a preview of how the content will appear on the website.

Beehiiv even allows saving a page as a template, which will save you time if you create content in a repeatable format. Isn't that awesome?!

Content Creation Experience on MailerLite

MailerLite gives a lot of versatility to its creators, offering three different editors to work with:

  • Drag & Drop Editor: similar to most Drag & Drop editors from major platforms like WordPress, and Squarespace, and is super easy to use.
  • Rich-text Editor: lets you write a newsletter with only text, allowing you to focus on just writing.
  • Custom HTML Editor: this lets you create a newsletter from scratch exactly as you want with code.

For most people, the Drag & Drop Editor is the right decision. It will give you the right combination of flexibility, customization, and easy of use.

Dashboard of MailerLite’s editor.
MailerLite’s drag-and-drop editor.

I love the variety of blocks in the MailerLite editor.

They have lots of hero section options with buttons, and images, grid layouts, e-commerce products, and much more.

Whether you want a simple and clean newsletter that is mostly text or a more complete one that will make any serious business proud, MailerLite has your back!

Yet, I must warn you that sometimes MailerLite has some glitches with keyboard shortcuts or when you want to move text around. To avoid those things, I prefer to write in another tool and paste the final product before sending my newsletter.

Content Creation Category winner

In the Content Creation category, beehiiv beats the MailerLite.

Beehiiv stands out due to its superior writing experience that’s both bug-free and full of features, catering to the needs of creators.

The editor is intuitive, lets you add polls, recommend other newsletters, and use custom code. All in a simple and efficient tool.

However, the biggest offense of beehiiv is that JavaScript won't be displayed in the inbox of readers even if you can use it to do cool stuff on the site. But that's a technical limitation of emails, not beehiiv,

Customization

Next comes customization and design.

Customization on beehiiv

Beehiiv's customization summary:

  • Newsletter templates: No;
  • Newsletter customization options: Great and easy to use;
  • Website themes: Yes, but still limited;
  • Possibility to buy a theme from a 3rd-party or create one with custom code: Not possible.

Beehiiv is polarizing when it comes to customization.

On the newsletter side, beehiiv is the most customizable platform for newsletters I know without writing code.

You can customize everything about the aspect of your newsletter in minutes. And I love this!

Page with settings to customize newsletter on beehiiv.
Newsletter customization on beehiiv.

But, when it comes to website customization, options are still a bit limiting.

In July 2023, beehiiv released massive improvements to website customization, which was a step in the right direction.

So, expect great customization on the website and only okay options for the website.

Customization on MailerLite

MailerLite's customization summary:

  • Newsletter templates: Yes;
  • Newsletter customization options: Great and easy to use;
  • Website themes: Yes;
  • Possibility to buy a theme from a 3rd-party or create one with custom code: Yes, possible to create theme with custom HTML.

MailerLite has amazing customization options. You can basically do anything you want with your newsletters!

Their template gallery has many templates to choose from, and it’s easy to like at least one of the designs.

Sample list of the templates offered by MailerLite.
Email templates on MailerLite

As a MailerLite user, I picked a template and customized it to my style. This saved me a lot of time instead of creating everything from scratch.

Changing a template is super easy to do with the Drag & Drop Editor and allows everyone to express their creativity without effort.

You can also save the templates for future use, saving time and effort to send future newsletters. I love this part as a MailerLite user!

Customization winner

In the customization category, MailerLite stands out by having more and better templates.

MailerLite can feel like a playground, allowing you to add your flair with custom HTML if you desire! This flexibility to adapt a template is priceless.

Beehiiv may be very good at customizing newsletters, but it could benefit from adding some template that you could use as is, or serve as inspiration.

On the website part, MailerLite is still ahead, as it allows more customization options than beehiiv.

SEO

Now, I want to analyze these tools' search engine optimization (SEO).

Beehiiv's SEO

Important SEO features checklist for beehiiv:

  • Custom domain: Yes, you can use a custom domain;
  • HTTPS: Yes;
  • URL slug customization: Yes
  • Meta description customization: Yes;
  • Sitemap: Yes;
  • Canonical tags: Yes;
  • Redirects: No;
  • Robots.txt: Yes;
  • Website speed: beehiiv has good results in speed tests;

Beehiiv is good when it comes to SEO and is well-optimized by default. So, you don't need to install plugins or do anything fancy!

Their platform has most of the things I consider essential in a way that even a complete beginner can get good results.

Speed test for a website using beehiiv using GTmetrix.
GTmetrix speed test results for a website using beehiiv

However, if you are a Pro user and want to have control over every SEO feature like you would on Ghost or WordPress, let me stop you right there!

There are some more advanced SEO things missing on beehiiv, like:

  • Ability to create redirects;
  • Customize canonical tags (all links are self-referencing canonicals);
  • Edit the robots.txt and sitemap files;
  • No index pages (only possible to do on a site level).

Overall, you will be more than fine with beehiiv when it comes to SEO.

MailerLite SEO

Important SEO features checklist for MailerLite:

  • Custom domain: Yes;
  • HTTPS: Yes;
  • URL slug customization: Yes;
  • Meta description customization: Only for home page;
  • Sitemap: No;
  • Canonical tags: No;
  • Redirects: No;
  • Robots.txt: No;
  • Website speed: Good;

MailerLite has a lot to catch up on in terms of SEO.

To be fair, MailerLite is mainly a newsletter tool, so they didn't need to have good SEO to be a great service.

However, they have introduced some blogging capabilities to MailerLite. This will make it possible for creators to use MailerLite as a newsletter and blog, similar to Substack.

And similar to Substack, MailerLite leaves a lot to be desired regarding SEO.

MailerLite’s speed test using GTmetrix.
MailerLite’s speed test

From what I can see, MailerLite doesn't have the tools needed for a creator to make a blog and find success ranking well on search engines.

MailerLite doesn't have important things like redirects, let us define canonical tags, and a lot more.

At the moment, MailerLite SEO only has the bare bones.

SEO category winner

Neither beehiiv or MailerLite are fantastic when it comes to SEO. I would even go further and say this is the biggest weakness of both!

Yet, beehiiv is better for SEO with a comfortable margin.

Beehiiv continues to make significant improvements every month to solve most of its weak points. SEO has been one of those areas where the difference is night and day since I started following beehiiv's progress.

At this moment, MailerLite has the bare bones when it comes to blogging, while beehiiv is a competent tool that I expect to improve further based on its track record (even tho better options exist).

Pricing

Now comes the cost of each tool.

Beehiiv's pricing

Beehiiv pricing summary:

  • Free plan: Yes, up to 2500 subscribers;
  • Cheaper paid plan: $42 (paid annually);

Beehiiv prices are reasonable with a generous free plan. And with 0% fees!

Most free plans are capped at 1,000 subscribers, but beehiiv allows up to 2,500 subs in the free plan.

Pricing page on beehiiv's website.
Pricing page on beehiiv's website.

But to enable custom domains and paid memberships, you'll have to upgrade to one of their paid plans.

I'm not a fan of the custom domain being associated with a paid plan because small newsletters won't be able to afford it.

This is a case of winning on one side with a generous free plan and losing on the SEO side unless you upgrade.

Beehiiv's "Grow" plan starts at $42/month and gives team members and the API access.

The "Scale" plan ($84/month) unlocks multiple newsletters and the referral program, AI writer and a lot more.

For anyone that makes money with their newsletter, beehiiv is a good deal. Plain and simple!

On top of that, beehiiv has so many features for a lower price than if you used most of their competitors.

MailerLite pricing

Beehiiv pricing summary:

  • Free plan: Yes, up to 1000 subscribers;
  • Cheaper paid plan: $9/month (paid annually);

Like other emailing tools, MailerLite also has different plans to choose from.

In MailerLite, you can start with the free plan, which doesn't have many limitations beyond the number of subscribers.

This is a great deal for beginners because they can start a newsletter using a great tool like MailerLite without spending a fortune.

Pricing page on MailerLite’s website.
Pricing page on MailerLite’s website as of November

After that, the cheaper paid plan starts at only $9 per month. This will give additional features like the auto resend campaign and the option to sell digital products.

The Advanced Plan unlocks the custom HTML editor and a 15% discount on Google Workspace, just to name a few of the perks.

The pricing is pretty upfront and easy to understand: the more subscribers you have, the more you have to pay.

But MailerLite is still cheaper than most newsletter tools in the market.

Pricing category winner

The winner of the pricing category depends.

On one side, beehiiv is a steal at only $42 per month for creators with a large following of more than 20K. But beginners will not be able to afford this price at the start (unless they stick to beehiiv’s free plan, which doesn’t have most of the good features).

On the other hand, MailerLite is beginner-friendly, with paid plans starting at only $9 per month. However, the cost escalates as the number of subscribers increases and can become relatively expensive.

Therefore, it all comes down to where you stand:

  • If you are just starting out MailerLite will be cheaper;
  • But if you have a large following, nothing beats beehiiv fixed prices.

Monetization

Now, I'll analyze the options to make money with each platform.

Monetization on beehiiv

Monetization options on beehiiv:

  • Memberships: Yes
  • Display ads (Programmatic advertisement like Adsense): Yes (Adsense only, I think);
  • e-Commerce / Digital products: No;
  • Sponsorships/ Marketplace ads: Yes
  • Donations/ Tips: No;
  • Manual embed ads on content: Yes;
  • Affiliate marketing: Yes.

Beehiiv is very good when it comes to making money and offers creators lots of options.

Memberships and ads are probably the bread and butter of many creators.

A list of beehiiv newsletters offering money to other newsletters for referring them new subscribers.
Boosts is a way of a newsletter make money by recommending subscribers to another newsletter in using beehiiv.

I want to highlight the Ad Network as a great revenue option.

With this, beehiiv does the heavy lifting of finding sponsors for you, and they take a percentage of the revenue for the work done.

This means you can focus on writing, and beehiiv will bring you sponsors and money.

This is pretty cool and makes beehiiv one of the best platforms for monetization! And they also have other monetization options like Boosts.

Monetization on MailerLite

Monetization options on MailerLite:

  • Memberships: Yes;
  • Display ads (Programmatic advertisement like Adsense): No;
  • e-Commerce / Digital products: Yes;
  • Sponsorships/ Marketplace ads: No;
  • Donations/ Tips: No;
  • Manual embed ads on content: Yes;
  • Affiliate marketing: Yes;

MailerLite has many monetization options for creators.

I would say that ML is similar to ConvertKit by allowing you to sell any kind of digital product (paid newsletters, e-books, courses, etc.). You can set up those as a subscription or a 1-time purchase.

Selling digital products on MailterLite.
MailerLite’s selling digital products

The most commonly used method of selling digital products is a paid newsletter, where subscribers have to pay to receive the content, similar to how it works on Substack or Ghost.

However, what is noticeably missing in MailerLite is an advertisement network.

You can still put ads in your newsletter, but you will have to be the one chasing sponsorships because MailerLite doesn't have a native Ad Network.

Monetization category winner

Beehiiv is the winner regarding monetization.

Despite MailerLite allowing us to sell digital products, I give the advantage to beehiiv because I give more importance to the newsletter advertising network.

Finding advertisers for a newsletter is a lot of work, and an advertising network is essential for individual creators to get paid well.

On top of that, beehiiv also has newsletter subscriptions which allow you to earn money from your subscribers directly.

So, this round goes to beehiiv.

Growth

Let's compare the tools when it comes to growth tools. These 'small' marketing things can have a big impact on the business.

Beehiiv Growth tools

Beehiiv's most important Growth tools checklist:

  • Plugins/integrations: Yes;
  • Automated email sequences: Yes;
  • Referral program: Yes;
  • Subscriber segmentation: Yes;
  • Custom sending domain: No;
  • A/B testing (titles): Yes;
  • RSS feed: Yes;

Beehiiv's main focus is on growing newsletters, so I would expect them to perform well here.

And that's exactly what happens!

Beehiiv allows integrations, which you can use to connect them to tools like Zapier and Make to automate a lot of processes.

Magic links page on beehiiv dashboard.
A magic link lets people signup to a beehiiv newsletter with 1 click.

Also, Beehiiv has newsletter recommendations where different publications can recommend each other and grow together.

This lets people subscribe with 1-click, making it a breeze.

So, I have to say I'm impressed with the things beehiiv is evolving while some competitors have had the same flaws for years (cough Substack cough).

MailerLite growth tools

MailerLite's most important Growth tools checklist:

  • Plugins/integrations: Yes;
  • Automated email sequences: Yes;
  • Referral program: Yes, with integration;
  • Subscriber segmentation: Yes;
  • Custom sending domain: No;
  • A/B testing (titles): Yes;
  • RSS feed: Yes;

MailerLite growth capabilities are impressive.

The thing I like the most is their automated email sequences. This lets you create welcome email sequences where you can introduce yourself to new subscribers over the first days. Or even send abandoned cart emails to remind people about products they where thinking about but didn't buy.

You can use these automations for a gazillion of things!

MailerLite demo image of the flow for an email sequence.
MailerLite demo on an email sequence

MailerLite also has a massive list of integrations, allowing you to use it in combination with other tools. For example, I use Ghost and MailerLite together. But you can integrate MailerLite with Shopify or even WordPress.

All those things, plus other small features, make it easier to grow the newsletter subscriber count.

Growth category winner

Beehiiv is the better tool when it comes to growth.

Beehiiv takes the edge because it has a native referral program, making it easy for beehiiv newsletters to recommend and grow together.

Overall, beehiiv does the same things MailerLite does, plus it has better network effects giving it the edge in the growth category.

Final Thoughts

Beehiiv and MailerLite are 2 tools I really like for newsletters, but they are quite different.

In this head-to-head, beehiiv is the winner.

Beehiiv has more and better monetization options that will make earning money from your newsletter easier. Here, I would highlight the beehiiv Ad Network as a big advantage over MailerLite.

Growth is another area where beehiiv shines, as it has all the tools you need to grow your newsletter. Isn't this what we all want!?

On MailerLite's side of things, I love the customization options and how easy it is to make newsletters pretty. Pick from dozens of templates available, or make your own custom template. The options are limitless!

When it comes to prices, MailerLite is my recommended option for beginners because it has a great free plan. After that, MailerLite is still cheap, with prices starting at $9/month.

While beehiiv also has a free plan, I recommend you only use beehiiv on the paid plans.

I say this because most of the things that make beehiiv a fantastic tool are only available on the paid plans.

Fortunately, beehiiv is cheaper than most newsletter tools if you have a high number of subscribers, with prices starting at $42/month.

Best for Pros
beehiiv
  • Content creation: 9.2
  • Customization: 6.8
  • SEO: 7.8
  • Growth: 10
  • Management: 9.5
  • Monetization: 7.8
  • Overall Rating: 9.6
Best for Beginners
MailerLite
  • Content creation: 8.2
  • Customization: 10
  • SEO: 6.3
  • Growth: 7.8
  • Management: 7.5
  • Monetization: 6.5
  • Overall Rating: 8.5