I have used WordPress for most of my time online. I even work with an agency that relies heavily on WordPress as a CMS. I have a lot of love for the community and platform that has been built around WordPress. In fact, For most businesses and people creating a website online, WordPress is hands down the best choice. The amount of plugins and themes, along with the flexibility and customizability of the CMS is beyond anything else offered.
While I love WordPress, it's become less of a blogging platform that focuses on doing one thing best. That's the reason I decided to switch from WordPress for my personal blog to Ghost. The platform is the leading option for journalists, bloggers, and anyone who wants to have an easy and beautiful experience writing. Not only is it easy and beautiful, Ghost is open-sourced and built on modern web standards.
Ghost is the best platform for anyone writing on the internet. The platform is not a full stop CMS like WordPress. They are focused on creating the best experience for anyone blogging online. It reminds me a lot of what Medium was going for but has failed to bring to the masses. In fact, Ghost has an amazing article comparing Ghost and Medium. As more and more people leave Medium, they will need a blogging platform to self-host. I've grown to enjoy Ghost so much on my person blog, I ended up bringing the blog to my other projects. I use Ghost with clients here and there and my side project IronMic.
Where I am Hosting
I am currently hosting my Ghost blog on Digital Ocean. Here is the price breakdown of how much it costs to run this site (fyi it is not a lot):
- $10 a month for a Digital Ocean VPS (2GB with 50GB SSD)
- $10 a year for the domain from Digital Ocean
- $29 a month for Buttondown email service (it's a great simple alternative to Mailchimp)
- $0 a month for Cloudflare protection. Use this to keep your site fast and protected from DDoS attacks.
I chose to self host Ghost but you can always choose to use the Ghost managed hosting provider which is $29 a month starting out. It supports the Ghost company and means you can easily work on your site without worrying about the hosting.
Ghost is Simple & Elegant
In the end, Ghost is elegant and simple. The backend isn't cluttered with a ton of extra plugins or features that someone who is blogging would need.
The biggest draw from Ghost is the SEO that is backed in from the start. On WordPress, you need to install Yoast or another SEO plugin to control the meta title, description and social images. On Ghost this is turned on from the start for every social media post, they've even added canonical URLs if someone is guest posting or if the blog post will have multiple versions of the same page.
Other great features built into Ghost:
- Unsplash Images - The platform loops right into Unsplash to pull images for headers, featured images, and even blog post images. Making it easy to add a free stock photo.
- Newsletter Capture - Ghost has a feature to turn on email capture at the bottom of every page. Capture your email and keep people looped into your content without having to work too hard. Added plus is Ghost can feed this into Mailchimp and others via Zapier.
- AMP Support - AMP for better or worse, greatly affects your search rankings. If you have it on your site you'll rank higher. Ghost makes it easy by having this on by default!
4. Dark Mode - It's got dark mode for when you want to write in a dark room and not kill your eyes.
My Rating of Ghost
Overall, I would give Ghost a 8.2 out of 10. I love the platform and the way it's built and managed but I do wish they'd add some more control to what is shown on Google. I want to change the homepage social images, meta description, and add more tracking on the site but they have added a lot in over the past few months.
The community has grown over the years and they offer a lot of themes for blogs but it's still hard to find someone to make custom ones or who is willing to do work on Ghost that is fairly inexpensive.
If you are willing to have your Blog on Medium, I would recommend moving to Ghost. If you are going to build a full fledged website, I would recommend looking at WordPress.
If you have any questions about Ghost or need help setting it up - I am happy to help!