Both Buy Me a Coffee and Ko-fi allow you to monetize your content as a creator, but not in the traditional way of relying on revenue shares from Google, YouTube, or any other platform you are on.
If you are a blogger, YouTuber, streamer, or artist, you can use any of these services to generate money directly from your fans.
Now let’s talk about Ko-fi vs Buy Me a Coffee.
Ko-fi is a platform that allows fans to show their support in the form of donations. Think of it as a virtual tip jar.
It allows artists to put out commissions, so if you want to have an artwork commission, the platform will allow you to do that.
Interestingly, the app has been around for a while now, but a lot of people do not recognize it as a useful tool for writers mainly because it is not a content creation site.
That being said, the platform allows you to post some content on the site albeit limited. The main goal of Ko-fi is to get your fans to help you monetize your work when you share it across your different profiles. By doing so, you can receive more donations from fans who want to ensure that you keep doing what you are doing.
Typically, you will be asked to create a landing page when you first get on Ko-fi. This is where you will identify yourself as a content creator. On the same page, you can also tell your audience a couple of things about yourself, your projects, and how they can assist you.
In a way, Ko-fi allows you to make mini portfolios that also serve as a direct payment and donation platform for people to support your work.
You have three options to make money with Ko-fi: donations, commissions, and subscriptions. This means that not only can fans make instant donations to your art, they can also make a commitment to sending you money every month.
The commission service on the other hand allows these fans to purchase exclusive content directly from you.
Once you have set up your Ko-fi account you can share it anywhere. A lot of sites already support the platform, so you can easily add a Ko-fi button on your website. With this, you can share your monetized options when you roll out new content.
Check out this : interesting comparison of Ko-fi with Patreon.
Buy Me a Coffee is a service that allows anyone to create a page where their subscribers or fans can go to make a voluntary one-off donation in the form of a cup of coffee.
It is a creative way of monetizing your fanbase without the complexities of your platform’s procedures getting in the way.
Of course, it is not a cup of coffee. It is just a standard donation, but buying someone a cup of coffee is a nice way of saying thank you and showing your support.
The setup is quite easy. It only takes you a few minutes and it is completely free. Just head over to the official website, enter a few details, and you are good to go.
All the payments are handled by PayPal or Stripe, which more than covers you for every type of payment. While there is no monthly fee, Buy Me a Coffee takes 5% of every transaction, so for a five-dollar coffee, they take 25 cents.
Related Post: Best Patreon Alternatives
Ko-fi provides you with a profile page that features who you are and what you do. You will get a more robust page on Ko-fi than you will on its alternatives, so you can add enough engaging content to sell your work.
Once you are set up, Ko-fi will give you a custom URL that looks something like: Ko-fi.com/yourwebsitename, but you can get a better and shorter name if you buy the Gold membership subscription.
You can attach this URL to the backend of your site and when someone clicks on it, they will visit your donation page or will be able to buy you a coffee and the donations will be sent directly to your PayPal or Stripe account
The first time I heard about Ko-fi was from a YouTube video and I wondered if it was possible to make money from it, so I set up an account a few days later. A few days after that, I received my first donation.
It is unlikely that Ko-fi will make you rich, because who goes around tipping hundreds of dollars for a cup of coffee. However, as long as you have a relatively big audience and you can market your link well, you will get a couple of dollars every once in a while.
The Buy Me a Coffee method of operation is similar to Ko-fi’s. It gives your fans and audiences the option to leave a tip for you if they enjoy the type of content that you create.
If someone clicks on the tip button and makes a payment, it is quickly processed into your PayPal or Stripe account depending on your preference.
You can also set up monthly subscription plans and membership rewards.
You will also get a profile page where you can add a couple of elements to describe who you are and what you do. You can also add social buttons that your fans can share when they need to.
The profile page typically contains your name, link to your website, screenshots of what you do, any plan you have for the money, plus other sections that might attract your visitors.
The more furnished your provided page is, the better your chances of getting tipped from visitors. The only downside is that it is limited and you can only be allowed to enter a limited amount of images and text.
When it comes to a Buy Me a Coffee vs Ko-fi comparison, both tools work similarly, however, Ko-fi comes out on top here as it allows more freedom for the types of content you can add to your profile page.
Also Read: SubscribeStar vs Patreon
To set up an account on Ko-fi is relatively easy. If you have signed up with any donation site before, most of the steps here will already be familiar to you.
You simply need a username, custom URL, and PayPal information. You can even skip the PayPal setup at the beginning if you yet have a PayPal account or you’d rather use Stripe.
Once you have done your initial setup, Ko-fi will send you a confirmation message via email prompting you to activate your account. Once your account has been activated, you will be able to see the progress of your account setup as a percentage. Now, while you don’t have to be at 100% to use Ko-fi, the site advises that you are because the more it has about you, the better.
You will be charged a membership fee per month. This membership fee enables you access to more customizable options on your profile such as the ability to change the term “Coffee” into something else, so instead of your profile page to read ‘click here to buy me a cup of coffee’, it can read ‘Support Charity’ or anything else you want.
The monthly charge also enables you to add analytics to your profile to see insights into how others are using your link.
That being said, you can still use Ko-fi even if you don’t pay the subscription fee. Although you may not have access to its premium features, it is still a feature-packed site.
On the Buy Me a Coffee platform, you can set up goals for donations. For example, let’s say that you are a streamer and you use an old web camera that is not so sharp. You would like to buy the Elgato Cam Link so that you can stream with a powerful Canon camera which is of way better quality than the one you currently use. You can set a goal too, but the Cam link and your followers will know exactly what they are donating for.
Buy Me a Coffee lets you set goals with ease. You can set it in $3 to $5 increments. For me, I prefer to choose the lower number as a high option might discourage a lot of people from dropping cash in the jar.
You can also enable monthly support which authorizes Buy Me a Coffee to automatically withdraw money on your behalf from your fan or subscriber every month, with their permission of course. It is similar to opting for a subscription fee to donate. You can even set the option to contribute yearly and include discounts if you want.
I also like the fact that you do not have to make your donors pay an extra charge to PayPal when they donate. You can opt to bear the cost of the charges yourself which I consider the right move.
You can use other keywords instead of ‘coffee’ on your profile page and you don’t have to be in a premium package to do so.
Buy Me a Coffee comes out top here as it lets you save your donors from any extra charges plus the flexible donation options that you can present to your audience. Also, you can change the keyword ‘coffee’ without any form of premium membership.
When you set up your Ko-fi profile page, you get a URL that you can use virtually anywhere, so you can add it to your social media posts, as text within your blog posts, into the description of your YouTube video, or even as a hyperlink on your email signature.
That being said, Ko-fi has a WordPress Plugin that makes things a lot easier for you, so you can add your likes to your web content without too much hassle. The plugin has not been updated in a while, so I can’t tell if it works with the current version of WordPress.
I do think it needs more features between WordPress and the website to make integration more engaging, but now you can only add a button, which is a bit boring.
While it is a good thing the plugin option is available, you don’t need a plugin to add Ko-fi to your website. You can create a button from images and set it up using ultimate shortcodes. It is not difficult to do and will not take you more than a minute to complete.
You can also add your Ko-fi button to your Livestream on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, so when anyone donates, you hear an alert right there.
Just like Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee also allows you to use a WordPress plugin to add a donation button and a widget to your website. You simply need to add your username and you are set.
The widget lets you include clickable elements on your site that visitors can make donations to.
You can also add the direct link to your Buy Me a Coffee profiler page to your content. The link is a branded URL so it breeds trust and confidence too.
This method is effective when you need to include the link in content such as email and newsletters, social media posts, banners, images, etc.
Buy Me a Coffee also comes with a way to create colorful buttons that you can select. With this option, you can choose which elements to use such as colors, text, and fonts.
This makes it easy for users of the site that have no experience creating these kinds of things before.
You can use both platforms in similar ways so this is a tie.
Since Ko-fi provides you with a URL you can use it to attract donors from virtually anywhere, which means that you can use it on social media, within blog posts, in YouTube videos, and more, but what are the features that make it so attractive?
Not that you need it too much, but Ko-fi does have a WordPress Plugin that lets you easily add your link to your blog or website. However, since the plugin has not been updated in a while, I will advise that you stay away from it until an update is done.
I typically recommend that you do not use plugins that have not been updated in at least six months.
One advantage you will get from using Ko-fi as compared to using other monetization platforms is that it allows you to add and share images from a gallery to help you better engage your visitors.
Here you can set up multiple galleries and add as many images that make sense. This makes it easy to promote yourself with images and visuals just as it is done on Pinterest and Instagram.
You also can add an intro video to engage your audience further. Think of it like the handshake you give when you meet a new person. It can be what prompts that new visitor to drop a token for you.
You can connect your Ko-fi profile page to several of the most popular social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Aside from seeking free donations on Ko-fi, you can create a digital product and sell for a fee on the platform. This is especially useful to graphic designers, photographers, and artists.
When you sign up on Ko-fi, you do not have to worry about creating your images and logos as the platform has a series of great visuals that you can add to your website without any plugins.
The Buy Me a Coffee link can also be share anywhere like Ko-fi, but let’s take a look at its best features
Buy Me a Coffee has a WordPress plugin that works similarly to Ko-fi. Fortunately, this plugin is regularly updated, so you can integrate it on your blog or website if you want.
Although this is a relatively new feature, Buy Me a Coffee allows you to upload and share images from the post section of your page.
You can make this gallery accessible to the public or set it as ‘Member only’. This is a perfect avenue for photographers and artists to engage their audience.
Another new feature in Buy Me a Coffee is the use of widgets. It displays as a cup of coffee on the bottom left of the host website and when visitors click on it, it expands.
While both platforms have cool features, Ko-fi has a lot more features that will further your agenda as a creator.
Ko-fi takes 0% of your donations even though it has helped creators receive more than $50 million.
The platform however has a subscription plan that gives creators more custom options and also charges a 5% commission from shop sales for free users. You can find out more about the Gold subscription from the product page.
For the most part, Buy Me a Coffee is free to use. However, it charges 5% on all payments and lets you keep the other 95%, which is a dealbreaker for some people when it comes down to Ko-fi Vs Buy Me a Coffee. You can find out more about how this works on their website.
Creators can also make money by creating exclusive membership content.
When it comes to Ko-fi vs Buy Me a Coffee in terms of cost, almost anyone will favor Ko-fi because it is freeish. However, 5% out of 100 is not a bad bargain for Buy Me a Coffee.
Both Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee offer:
- Custom links
- WordPress plugins
- Free signup
- Image gallery
- Buy Me a Coffee charges 5% on each transaction
- Ko-fi lets you include an intro video
- Ko-fi features a premium plan while Buy Me a Coffee doesn’t
- Ko-fi does not charge any fees
- It makes getting funded easy
- Ko-fi is versatile and can be used anywhere
- It is too simplistic for blogging
- Some features are not free
- Easy to sign up and use
- You can get paid via PayPal, credit cards, and Google pay
- It allows you to create monthly and annual memberships
- It takes 5% of all your earnings
Before we award a winner in this Buy Me a Coffee vs Ko-fi article, I just want to put it out there that Buy Me a Coffee has a much better name than Ko-fi.
With that being said, I’m going to say that Ko-fi is better by just an inch even though Buy Me a Coffee is a bit similar to Patreon.
Ko-fi had a more personal interface and better features that are suitable for any creator. Plus it is free to use.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.