Ghost CEO, John O'Nolan reached out to me as the bot notified him of me being a very active trial customer. So he dropped me an email, asking me how I discovered Ghost and what made me sign up. What better way to reply to the CEO of a company than via his tool.
I've been a hobby writer for years, and at the beginning of my work life, I spent a whole decade writing for a European tech magazine — back in the days when such magazines were still printed on expensive glossy paper, and there were actual subscribers to paper magazines. But I digress.
In the last two decades, I had several small blogging outlets sharing my thoughts. What started on Blogger eventually moved to the only platform for serious bloggers — WordPress.
WordPress.com, .org, self-hosted, on Bluehost, I've done it all. And in 2020, I decided to restart my blogging activities for various reasons. I wanted something different, something new. I tried the hot new platforms like Wix and Squarespace, but all the blogging roads led me back to WordPress. So I did what I knew from the past — signed up for Bluehost, registered my domain, and flocked out a good €120 for a 3-year plan.
I set up my WordPress site and published 20 posts. As this is a hobby I'm doing before/after my work, and on the weekends, I became vigilant of the time spent not writing. SEO plugins, JetPact, plugins for Unsplash, plugins that don't work, ...
There must be something out there for bloggers only. Something as simple as Substack (where I published another 20 weekly newsletters this year), but focused on blogging.
It didn't take long before I stumbled upon Ghost. It seems this was built precisely for the same reasons. I liked the whole idea: built for blogging, focused on the writing, with a simple interface and no distractions. Built-in SEO, no plugins (magic words!).
I signed up for a trial account, set up my site using the free template, and imported my existing WordPress posts.
With this theme — you're watching it now — all my old posts looked much better. And the site is super fast. Zero maintenance.
There were no more questions that I'll move over. Sure, it's $30/month, but the time and nerves I'll save are worth it.
I still have my Bluehost paid for three years, and I'll use it to set up a static site to promote a book I'm writing. Should be fast enough for that fixed page.
Here are some Ghost.io pros and cons I discovered along the way.
- look and feel
- free themes are beautiful
- blog/writing-focused platform
- no noise, no settings to fiddle around with
- Unsplash integration
- subscriptions/newsletter option
- inability to size images (e.g., make them inline)
- Grammarly doesn't work with the Editor (I'm writing in Write.as to be able to use Grammarly!)
- no ability to adjust theme fonts, look&feel.
Overall, Ghost vs. WordPress is like iPhone vs. Android. Everything just works, but you can't fiddle around with all the little details. They don't let you mess things up. We don't need more fart apps.
Ghost is fantastic for writing—clean, smooth, fast. And once you hit Publish, you have a blazing-fast beautiful site.
No plugins to waste your writing time on.
Just write. Publish. Share.