15 min read

Ghost vs Substack: blog vs newsletter, the full comparison

Substack and Ghost are 2 of the most popular options for creators these days.

Their focus is on monetizing content, mostly with memberships.

In this article, you will see what makes them special is who is better at SEO, monetization and other things.

Let's go!

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Ghost vs Substack summary

Best for bloggers
Ghost CMS
  • Content Creation: 9.0
  • Customization: 6.8
  • SEO: 9.0
  • Growth: 6.9
  • Management: 9.0
  • Monetization: 6.5
  • Overall Rating: 9.4
Free forever plan
  • Content Creation: 5.2
  • Customization: 4.3
  • SEO: 7.5
  • Growth: 4.8
  • Management: 9.0
  • Monetization: 4.8
  • Overall Rating: 6.7

The main difference is that Substack is a no-code platform for creators to send newsletters and interact with subscribers, while Ghost CMS is one of the best tools for monetizing blogs and newsletters with memberships.

Ghost and Substack look similar on the surface as they are platforms that combine blogs with newsletters. But couldn't be farther from the truth.

I recommend Ghost CMS for creators who give more importance to their blog and publishing articles as their SEO is fantastic. Also, Ghost has more customization and monetization options than Substack.

On the other hand, I recommend Substack to creators who want to publish different types of content using only 1 tool. Substack also has some social features like chats with subscribers.

Ghost CMS overview

Ghost CMS is a fantastic platform for bloggers and writers who want to publish content and monetize it with memberships.

The strongest points of Ghost are its SEO and ease of use. The best part is that Ghost is safe, fast, and optimized out of the box. So you can focus on creating the content instead of having to tweak things around.

Ghost is super easy to use with managed hosting like Ghost (Pro) because this type of service takes care of updates, backups, and installation. I've used Ghost since 2021, always with a managed hosting.

Things I like about Ghost CMS:

  • 0% membership fees;
  • Fantastic search engine optimization (SEO);
  • The websites are fast;
  • No coding knowledge required with managed hosting;
  • Best writing experience on any platform I know;
  • Works as blog + newsletter;
  • You can self-host Ghost;
  • Ghost sites are safer than WordPress;
  • Integrations that work like plugins;
  • Team members (editors and writers);
  • Ghost themes are beautiful.

Things I don't like about Ghost CMS:

  • Lack of email sequences and welcome emails;
  • Self-hosting isn't intuitive (requires command-line knowledge);
  • Theme customization requires coding;
  • Limited newsletter analytics.

Substack overview

Substack is mainly a newsletter tool, but they are trying to become a place to publish all kinds of content like a blog, podcast, chat with subscribers, and they even have a Twitter "clone" called Notes.

Since the platform was created in 2017, it has significantly impacted media by popularizing paid newsletters.

Substack is one of the main reasons for newsletters becoming so popular again, as they made monetizing content easy.

Things I like about Substack:

  • Free forever plan;
  • Do everything without code;
  • Good safety record;
  • Publish different types of content (newsletter, blog, podcast, and more);
  • Easy to use.

Things I don't like about Substack:

  • 10% in membership fees;
  • Bad SEO;
  • Custom domain costs $50;
  • No integrations;
  • No email sequences;
  • Awful customization;
  • Complicated content guidelines (you have to follow their rules or risk getting banned).

Other comparison articles

Beehiiv vs Ghost CMS: the ultimate comparison
Beehiiv and Ghost CMS are great tools for creators. Read this to learn which is better for SEO, monetization, customization and growth.
Beehiiv vs ConvertKit: picking the perfect newsletter tool (detailed breakdown)
I’ve compared beehiiv vs ConvertKit to help you decide which newsletter tool fits your needs better.
ConvertKit vs Ghost CMS - monetizing with memberships
Picking between Ghost and ConvertKit will depend, for the most part, if you already have a blog or not.

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