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For more than a decade, I have been a Patronage of WordPress – who wouldn’t be, right? The organization has built ever-growing fan followers and a developer community. But i came across this platform: Ghost blog and I was amazed. I remember my experience speaking at developer conferences organized by Wordcamp folks. WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress and I was awestruck looking at the immense developer community that showed love for WordPress. They took WordPress by heart.
From a blogging platform, WordPress has moved on to become a complete CMS platform with support to extend your site into whatever you desire – say even eCommerce. From a simpler system to a powerful yet sophisticated module. No more WordPress is seen just as a blogging platform.
Over the years, I have been following the journey of Ghost platform ever since I saw their Kickstarter campaign that was looking to raise £25,000 from it and eventually ended up raising nearly £200,000. Finally, in 2021, I thought of giving it a go, starting with the 14-day trial which eventually got switched into a paid plan. My two core features to look at were blogging and memberships. Here are a few things that impressed me about Ghost so far.
Focus is Writing
Ghost is what WordPress used to be. What really impressed me about Ghost is the core focus on Blogging. Nothing else. The markdown style makes it easy to focus on content writing. You also have the support of other edition options such as Bold, Italics, Underlines, and of course the header formatting.
Simply include content from Twitter, Vimeo, Spotify, Soundcloud, Unsplash with a click. Most of the time, this editor reminds me of Medium, which was as simple as this.
When the content is published, simply choose to send or not, and depending on options, Ghost will act upon your request. If you choose the former, the email is sent with the content of the post you wrote.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that, you can also schedule the posts as per your wish. Just like in the case of WordPress. Every post you are in the progress of writing is auto-saved to draft.
Membership Driven content
Ghost supports memberships and paid subscriptions which otherwise would cost extra in WordPress. Simply choose the content to be visible for the public v/s to the once for paid members, and that’s all. No hassles in adding plugins or any other custom code like in the case of WordPress. Costs nothing in Ghost. You can set your own price and custom flow to ensure users subscribe to your site. Payment integration with Stripe makes it easy for anyone to accept payments. If the website you are building is for private purposes, you can also mark it as Private to hide it from the public.
Support SEO, SSL, CDN is all inbuilt
Want to know how the page would look on Facebook or Twitter? Ghost allows you to simply customize the look and feel of how the content appears. No additional plugins are needed, just like in WordPress. You can email the post to your members without any plugins/extensions.
Ghost comes with default support with SSL, so neither you have to buy a plugin or subscribe for free SSL for your domain. CDN support is the default, however, I am a big fan of Cloudflare CDN for its analytics. It has a free tier if you wish to have a hands-on experience.
WordPress has always been in news for malware impact and some create a serious impact on the site if impacted by WordPress-related malware. Ghost, on the other hand, has several other security support including Brute force protection, SQLi prevention, XSS prevention, Data validation, and serialization, Token enabled encodings, and password hashing. No additional cost for the above.
Integrations and Extensions support
Ghost allows certain free integrations and you can inject the piece of code to activate the services. You can easily insert header and footer codes and if you are a developer, you can also add custom code. Except for the base plan of pricing, you can easily add your custom themes as per your needs or install themes from the theme marketplace of Ghost.
There is some default extension support that can be easily enabled by Ghost. For instance, the support for AMP (an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages) is available in Ghost. It is a simple web component that allows creating a user-first web experience. However, on the other hand, a few features such as Commenting need extension, and Ghost have a default commenting system. Disqus is a commenting system that’s available for free, but I’m not a big fan of it.
Ghost and WordPress have a plugin marketplace of their own, however, there is no match when it comes to the number of plugins WordPress has which is around 55,000+. Check out what Ghost has to offer, with the integration lists here.
No hidden charges, Just Flat pricing
Simply total the amount you will spend otherwise on plugins when considering WordPress, and you will realize Ghost is one of the viable options. Ghost is priced based on members, page views, and support of integrations. For example, With USD 29/month when billed annually, you can get a plan that supports 100K views/month, Custom themes and integrations, and 1000 members. Good enough to start your journey as a blogger.
If you are planning to build a membership site or paid publications, Ghost is a good alternative. Also, take a look at the Stripe page here to help you understand if Stripe accepts payments in our region.