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WordPress vs. Substack vs. Ghost vs. Medium: Choosing the Right Platform to Grow Your Audience

Donald Ng
May 9, 2023
5-star rating
Reviews on Capterra
WordPress vs. Substack vs. Ghost vs. Medium: Choosing the Right Platform to Grow Your Audience

Are you planning to start writing and grow your audience through content marketing? If so, you may be considering platforms like WordPress, Substack, Ghost, or Medium. Each platform has its pros and cons, so how do you choose the best one for your needs? 

In this article, we will compare these platforms, based on feedback from people in the community, to help you make an informed decision.

1. WordPress

WordPress is a versatile and user-friendly platform that allows users to create and manage websites with ease. It offers a wide range of themes and plugins, enabling users to customize their sites according to their needs. With its strong community support and regular updates, WordPress is a popular choice for businesses, bloggers, and individuals alike.


- The most popular CMS, powering 1/3 of all websites on the internet

- A vast selection of themes and plugins for customization

- Secure, if the right security plugins are used

- Mobile responsive theme designs

- SEO-friendly

- Adaptable and flexible for changing needs over time

- You own the website


- Can be complex and time-consuming to set up and manage

- Requires more tech-savviness

- Potential security risks if not properly managed

Community thoughts: 

"I have been using WordPress for years and will stick with it. It's such an adaptable and flexible platform for changing needs over time."

2. Substack

Substack is a platform that enables writers to build their own email newsletter businesses. It offers a range of features including customizable templates, audience analytics, and payment processing. Substack has become popular among writers who want to monetize their content and have more control over their audience.


- Easy to set up and start writing

- No need to manage your own website

- Free for free content

- Reasonable 10% fee for paid subscriptions, including hosting and other services


- Limited customization options

- Not as SEO-friendly as WordPress

- You don't own the website

- The 10% fee may be too high for some users

Community thoughts: 

"The advantage of Substack, especially for beginners, is that all you have to do is create an account and start writing. If all you want to do is run a simple blog, this is what I would go with."

3. Ghost

Ghost is a minimalist and modern blogging platform that offers a distraction-free writing experience. It is designed to provide a simple and intuitive interface for writers, while also offering powerful features such as custom themes and integrations with other tools. Ghost is a great option for writers who prioritize clean design and ease of use.


- Simple and clean design

- Focus on content creation

- Built-in SEO features

- Open-source software


- Limited customization options compared to WordPress

- Requires technical knowledge for self-hosting

- Not as widely used as WordPress

Community thoughts: 

Ghost is often mentioned as an alternative to WordPress, but it is not discussed as extensively in the community.

4. Medium

Medium is a publishing platform that connects readers with content from writers and publications on a wide range of topics. It offers a clean and user-friendly interface, social sharing features, and a built-in audience. Medium's algorithmic curation system and monetization options make it a popular choice for writers who want to reach a wider audience and earn money from their writing.


- Easy to use and set up

- Large built-in audience

- Focus on content and reading experience


- Limited customization options

- You don't own the website

- Potential for content to be removed or censored

Community thoughts: 

Medium is a popular choice for writers who want to focus on content creation but do not need extensive customization options or plan to monetize their content.


Ultimately, the choice between WordPress, Substack, Ghost, and Medium depends on your needs and preferences. If you want full control and customization options, WordPress is the way to go. If you prefer simplicity and ease of use, Substack or Medium might be a better fit. Ghost can be an alternative for those who want a clean design and focus on content creation. Whichever platform you choose, make sure it is one that works best for you and allows you to focus on creating great content for your audience.

To further enhance your audience's reading experience and understand their behavior, consider using Howuku.

Howuku is a user experience analytics tool that helps you gain insights into how your readers interact with your content through heatmap and session recordings. By analyzing this data, you can make data-driven decisions to improve your website's design, layout, and overall user experience, ultimately increasing reader satisfaction and engagement.

Give Howuku a try and discover how it can help you create a better experience for your audience across any platform you choose. Start a 14-day free trial, no developer needed.

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