Substack Review: Exploring Features for Content Creators

As an early Substack user, launching the Website Investing publication back in May 2020, I am excited to share my in-depth substack review with you. Substack has become increasingly popular among content creators as a platform for launching newsletters and monetizing their work. In this comprehensive analysis, we will delve into the features that make Substack stand out from its competitors.

We’ll explore how user-friendly interface makes it easy to import mailing lists and engage readers through comments. Additionally, we’ll discuss the unique subscription model which benefits creators by providing backend support. My review also covers additional features such as podcasting capabilities and custom domain options.

However, no platform is perfect; thus, we will touch upon some cons worth considering before committing fully to Substack. Lastly, my substack review will highlight success stories of those who have transitioned from other platforms like WordPress and compare Substack’s offerings with alternative newsletter platforms like beehiiv.

Table of Contents:

Substack’s User-Friendly Interface

One of the key advantages of Substack is its simplicity and ease-of-use. Substack’s user-friendly interface enables users to import existing mailing lists from services such as MailChimp, while also providing features like comment moderation that encourages engagement with readers. Users can enable or disable comments on their posts, which fosters engagement with readers.

Importing Mailing Lists from Other Platforms

Migrating your email list to Substack is a breeze, thanks to its seamless integration with popular email marketing platforms like MailChimp. With just a few clicks, you can easily transfer your entire subscriber base onto Substack and start sending out newsletters right away. This hassle-free process makes it easy for content creators who are looking for an alternative newsletter solution to make the switch.

Enabling or Disabling Comments for Reader Engagement

A unique feature offered by Substack is the ability to enable or disable comments on individual posts. By allowing readers to share their thoughts and opinions directly within the platform, content creators can foster meaningful conversations around their work. This level of interaction not only helps build stronger relationships between writers and subscribers but also encourages more people to sign up as paying subscribers.

In addition to these features that simplify user experience, Substack offers a range of tools designed specifically for content creators. Substack makes sending newsletters quick and efficient, allowing writers to focus on producing high-quality content instead of getting bogged down in technical details.

  • Rich text editor: Substack’s built-in rich text editor makes it easy to format your newsletters and add multimedia elements like images, videos, and embedded tweets.
  • Scheduling options: Schedule your posts in advance so you can maintain a consistent publishing schedule without worrying about manually sending out each newsletter.
  • Email analytics: Gain insights into how well your content is performing with metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and the number of paying subscribers who have engaged with specific pieces of content.

In today’s digital landscape where attention spans are shorter than ever, Substack newsletters provide an excellent opportunity for writers to connect directly with their audience. By offering a user-friendly interface that simplifies the process of creating and distributing content, Substack helps creators attract more paying subscribers, ultimately leading to increased revenue.

Substack’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for content creators to manage their mailing lists and engage with readers. Moving on, the platform also offers a monetization model through its subscription system that provides unique pricing structures and backend support.

Key Takeaway: 

Substack is a user-friendly newsletter software that simplifies the process of creating and distributing content. Its seamless integration with popular email marketing platforms like MailChimp makes it easy to import existing mailing lists, while its unique feature of enabling or disabling comments on individual posts fosters engagement with readers. Substack also offers a range of tools designed specifically for content creators, such as a rich text editor, scheduling options, and email analytics to gain insights into how well your content is performing.

Monetization Through Subscription Model

One of the most appealing aspects of Substack is its unique pricing structure, which sets it apart from other newsletter software options. Unlike traditional platforms that charge a flat fee or tiered pricing based on the number of subscribers, Substack offers content creators an opportunity to monetize their newsletters through a subscription model. This means that as long as you’re earning money from subscriptions, Substack takes care of all backend work – including hosting fees – allowing you to focus solely on creating quality content.

Unique Pricing Structure Benefits Creators

The way Substack’s pricing works is simple: they charge 10% of whatever amount you decide to charge your subscribers for access to your content (with a minimum $5 subscription fee). For example, if you choose to set your monthly subscription price at $10 per subscriber, Substack will take $1 and leave you with $9 for each paying subscriber. This revenue-sharing model incentivizes both the platform and creators alike since both parties benefit directly from attracting more paying subscribers.

Backend Support Provided by The Platform

In addition to offering an attractive revenue-sharing model for creators, another advantage of using Substack is that they handle all the technical aspects related to managing and delivering newsletters. From maintaining servers and ensuring high deliverability rates in readers’ inboxes to processing payments securely via Stripe integration – everything is taken care of by the platform itself so that writers can concentrate on producing engaging content without worrying about any technical hiccups along the way.

  • Pricing: Revenue sharing model where creators keep 90% while Substack charges 10%
  • Email Deliverability: High inbox placement rates ensured by the platform
  • Payment Processing: Secure transactions via Stripe integration
  • Technical Support: Backend infrastructure managed by Substack, allowing creators to focus on content creation

This unique pricing structure and backend support make it easy for content creators of all sizes – from small independent writers to larger publications – to monetize their newsletters without having to worry about technicalities or upfront costs. Subscribers are likely to be more involved and share the material they have paid for, fostering a sense of community.

In addition, Substack offers various features designed specifically for paid subscribers. For instance, you can choose whether your newsletter is accessible only by paying subscribers or if some posts should be available publicly while others remain exclusive. This flexibility gives you the chance to try out different approaches and discover what works best for your readers, thus increasing revenue potential.

If you’re a content creator looking for an effective way to monetize your work while maintaining full control over its distribution, then considering using Substack’s subscription-based newsletter platform. With its unique pricing structure and comprehensive backend support system in place, there has never been a better time than now.

Substack offers a straightforward system for creators to monetize their work through subscription-based content. Additionally, with additional features such as podcasting capabilities in beta testing phase and custom domain connection options available, creators have more flexibility when it comes to monetizing their content.

Key Takeaway: 

Substack is a newsletter software that allows content creators to monetize their newsletters through a subscription model. The platform charges 10% of the subscription fee and takes care of all backend work, including hosting fees, while providing high inbox placement rates and secure payment processing via Stripe integration. This unique pricing structure and comprehensive backend support system make it easy for content creators to focus on producing engaging content without worrying about technicalities or upfront costs.

Additional Features and Flexibility

Substack offers more than just a platform for creating newsletters; it also provides additional features that cater to the needs of content creators. One such feature is its podcasting capabilities, which are currently in beta testing phase. This allows users to experiment with audio content, expanding their reach beyond written articles.

Podcasting Capabilities in Beta Testing Phase

The podcasting feature on Substack makes it easy for writers to create and distribute podcasts alongside their newsletter content. Users are able to upload audio files directly onto the Substack platform, where it will be stored and accessible for subscribers. Additionally, Substack takes care of generating an RSS feed for your podcast so that listeners can easily subscribe using their favorite podcast app.

Custom Domain Connection Option Available

Beyond offering a simple way to host both written and audio content, Substack also gives users the option of connecting a custom domain name for $50 per year. This means you can maintain your own unique branding while still benefiting from the ease-of-use provided by this newsletter software. For instructions on how to attach a personalized domain name with Substack, take a look at their comprehensive guide.

  • User-friendly interface: The lightweight design runs smoothly without any technical hiccups or distractions.
  • Monetization through subscription model: With pricing based on earnings from paying subscribers rather than flat fees or tiered plans, creators have greater incentive and potential profit margins.
  • Add-on features like podcast hosting: Content creators looking to diversify their offerings can take advantage of Substack’s podcasting capabilities, currently in beta testing.
  • Custom domain connection: For an additional fee, users can maintain their own branding while still benefiting from the platform’s infrastructure and support.

In addition to these features, it is worth noting that Substack has a growing community of content creators. This network provides opportunities for collaboration and cross-promotion among writers who share similar interests or target audiences. As its user base grows, Substack is likely to develop further in order to meet the needs of those who use it.

However, as with any software solution, there are potential drawbacks to consider before fully committing to using Substack for your newsletter endeavors. In the next section, we’ll discuss some cons worth considering before making a decision on whether this platform is right for you.

The additional features and flexibility offered by Substack make it a great choice for content creators. However, potential users should consider the cons worth considering before committing to this service.

Key Takeaway: 

Substack offers more than just a platform for creating newsletters, with features such as podcasting capabilities and the option to connect a custom domain name. Its user-friendly interface and monetization through subscription model make it an attractive choice for content creators looking to diversify their offerings. However, potential drawbacks should also be considered before committing fully to using Substack.

Cons Worth Considering Before Committing

Despite its many benefits and growing popularity among top earners (who reportedly earn between $5K-$30K per month), there are some downsides worth considering before committing fully to this platform. In this section, we will discuss the potential drawbacks of using Substack for your newsletter needs.

Occasional Bugs Within The System Reported By Users

As with any software or online service, users have reported experiencing occasional bugs within the Substack system. Although issues may not be widespread, users should bear in mind that they could encounter technical difficulties while creating their newsletters. However, Substack offers responsive customer support to help address any concerns quickly.

Limited Search Engine Optimization Opportunities Due To Hosted Nature

A significant drawback of using a hosted platform like Substack is limited control over search engine optimization (SEO). Since your content lives on their servers rather than a custom domain under your control, optimizing individual posts for organic search traffic can be challenging. This limitation could potentially hinder the growth of your audience if SEO plays an essential role in driving new readership. For those who prioritize SEO ownership, alternative platforms such as WordPress, which offer more customization options and plugins designed specifically for improving site visibility in search engines should be considered.

Limited Design Customization Options

  • Simplicity: One reason why many creators love Substack is its simplicity; however, this also means that design customization options are relatively limited compared to other platforms like WordPress or Squarespace where you can customize every aspect of the look and feel of your site.
  • Branding: While Substack does offer the option to connect a custom domain for $50 per year, overall branding opportunities are still limited compared to other platforms. If you have specific design requirements or want complete control over your newsletter’s appearance, it might be worth exploring alternative options.

Focus On Established Creators

Last but not least, it is essential to note that Substack seems primarily geared towards established creators with existing audiences. The platform’s monetization model relies on paying subscribers; therefore, those who already have an engaged audience may find it easier to generate income through this service. Newer content creators without a substantial following may struggle initially in building their subscriber base and generating revenue from their newsletters. However, if you’re confident in your ability to grow an audience quickly and provide valuable content consistently, don’t let this deter you from giving Substack a try.

Before committing to Substack, it is important to consider the potential downsides of using the platform such as occasional bugs and limited SEO opportunities. However, many content creators have had success with Substack for their long-form content creation needs or transitioning from other platforms like WordPress.

Key Takeaway: 

Substack is a popular newsletter platform for content creators, but there are some downsides worth considering before committing fully. These include occasional bugs within the system, limited search engine optimization opportunities due to its hosted nature, limited design customization options and focus on established creators with existing audiences.

Success Stories Using Substack

Many content creators have found success using Substack. I launched my first Substack in May 2020 and within 10 months had grown it to over $5K/m in monthly recurring subscriptions, plus a similar level from sponsorships and affiliate. I then sold the newsletter for six figures, and wrote about it on Indie Hackers.

Transitioning from Other Platforms like WordPress

Migrating an existing blog or newsletter can be challenging, especially when considering SEO implications and maintaining subscriber lists. However, with Substack’s seamless import feature, users can easily transfer mailing lists from services such as MailChimp without any hassle. Additionally, while there may be some limitations regarding search engine optimization due to the hosted nature of the platform (as mentioned earlier), many creators find that focusing on high-quality content ultimately leads readers back regardless of where it is published.

In another example of successful migration onto Substack, a popular writer specializing in tech analysis moved his entire archive over after realizing how much easier it was for him as well as his readership base compared with Medium – which had become increasingly cluttered with ads and distractions making engagement difficult at best.

Using Podcasting Features for Interviews

Substack’s podcasting features, currently in beta mode, have proven to be an excellent addition for creators looking to diversify their content offerings. The user mentioned earlier has taken advantage of these capabilities by conducting regular interviews with experts in the remote business industry. This not only adds variety to their newsletter but also provides subscribers with valuable insights from different perspectives.

In summary, Substack offers a promising platform for content creators seeking new ways to monetize and engage with their audience. With its user-friendly interface, monetization options through subscriptions, and additional features like podcasting support (currently in beta), it is no wonder that many writers are finding success on this platform – even when transitioning from other well-established platforms such as WordPress or Medium.

Success Stories Using Substack have shown that remote businesses can use long-form content creation to their advantage. With this in mind, let’s explore how Substack compares with its competitors and the importance of continuous improvement for staying competitive.

Key Takeaway: 

Content creators have found success using Substack, a platform that offers ease-of-use and monetization options for long-form content creation. With features like seamless import of mailing lists and podcasting support in beta mode, writers are finding new ways to engage with their audience and generate income streams.

Comparisons with Competitors

As a content creator, it’s essential to explore various platforms and compare their features before making a decision. With competitors like beehiiv serving a similar target audience (small publishers wanting monetization), it remains crucial for platforms such as Substack to continue evolving and addressing any shortcomings they may have in order to stay ahead of the curve.

beehiiv as an Alternative Newsletter Platform

beehiiv is another popular newsletter platform that offers many features comparable to Substack. beehiiv allows creators to easily import mailing lists from other services, customize the design of their newsletters, and integrate with third-party tools like Google Analytics. Additionally, beehiiv charges a fixed monthly $99/m fee with 0% commissions on paid subscriptions compared to Substack’s 10%, which could be more appealing for those looking for lower fees.

  • Pricing: As mentioned earlier, beehiiv has a lower commission fee than Substack at just 5%. This can make a significant difference when considering your overall earnings from subscriptions.
  • Email Design Customization: While both platforms offer customization options for email designs, some users find that beehiiv provides more flexibility in terms of layout and styling choices.
  • Analytics Integration: Unlike Substack which currently lacks integration with analytics tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel directly within its interface; beehiiv makes it easy for you to track performance metrics using these popular tools without needing additional plugins or workarounds.

The Importance of Continuous Improvement for Staying Competitive

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, it’s essential for platforms like Substack and beehiiv to continually adapt and improve their offerings in order to stay competitive. It is important for these platforms to remain current and identify any potential issues they may have.

For example, as mentioned earlier in this Substack review, the platform has been working on adding podcasting features (currently in beta mode) which can help attract more creators who want a single platform for both written and audio content. Additionally, Substack should continue focusing on improving its SEO capabilities since limited ownership over search engine optimization could be a deal-breaker for some users who rely heavily on organic traffic from search engines.

In conclusion, when comparing newsletter platforms like Substack and beehiiv, it’s important to consider factors such as pricing structure, design customization options, analytics integration capabilities among others. Ultimately though – your choice will depend on what best suits your specific needs as a creator.

Key Takeaway: 

The Substack review highlights the importance of exploring various platforms and comparing their features before making a decision. While beehiiv offers comparable features such as customization options, analytics integration, and lower commission fees, it’s crucial for Substack to continuously improve its offerings in order to stay competitive. Ultimately, the choice between these platforms will depend on what best suits the specific needs of each content creator.

FAQs in Relation to Substack Review

Is Substack a Good Platform?

Yes, Substack is an excellent platform for content creators who want to monetize their newsletters and build a loyal subscriber base. It offers user-friendly features, customization options, and competitive pricing. However, it may not be ideal for those seeking extensive design control or SEO ownership.

What is the Substack Controversy?

The Substack controversy revolves around its practice of offering substantial advances to select writers as part of the Substack Pro program. Critics argue that this creates an uneven playing field and potentially promotes controversial figures with large followings over smaller independent creators.

How Successful is Substack?

Since its launch in 2023, Substack has grown rapidly with many success stories among content creators. Top earners on the platform make up to $30K per month through newsletter subscriptions. Its popularity demonstrates that there’s potential for significant income generation if you can attract and retain subscribers.

Is Substack Good for Writers?

Substack is beneficial for writers looking to monetize their work through newsletter subscriptions directly from readers. The platform provides tools such as mailing list importing and automatic website generation while taking only a 10% commission rate on earnings. However, limited design customization options might be restrictive for some users.


In conclusion, Substack is a user-friendly platform that offers content creators an easy way to monetize their work through newsletter subscriptions. With features such as importing mailing lists, automatic website generation, and flexible pricing options, Substack has quickly become a popular choice for writers looking to earn income from their writing.

However, there are some drawbacks to the platform, such as limited customization options and occasional bugs in functionality. Despite this, the success stories of top earners making up to $30K per month show that it can be a lucrative option for those who put in the effort.