Why I Built a New Blog with Ghost

My reasons are many for going against my own advice

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Photo by Syarafina Yusof on Unsplash

I caught some grief for telling writers they didn’t need a blog. Though some writers were happy because they’d been told they must have a blog to promote themselves and were not looking forward to building one instead of working on their writing. Others, mostly web developers, and designers were angry because they felt I was hurting their business.

As long as everyone keeps saying writers have to have a blog, there will always be work for contractors and web development companies.

I was even getting rid of my personal blog. The blog was dead since I starting writing on platforms, and I wasn’t putting the work I needed to drive traffic. I was paying for something that I didn’t need because I was already well-represented elsewhere. When the hosting contract ends this month, I won’t be renewing it. I will back the blog up and store it for later. The domain will be safe on Namecheap.

But something happened last week that made me go against my own advice. A friend of mine told me about a publishing platform, like WordPress, that was fantastic.

It’s called Ghost.

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Ghost.org — Screenshot by the author.

Why I Have a New Blog

First, because of my interest in blogging, I wanted to kick the tires on Ghost and write about my results. Not only do I have the To Blog Or Not To Blog publication, but I have a newsletter of the same name. I knew my readers would want to know about Ghost because every day I hear someone complaining about WordPress.

The second reason I have a new blog is I’ve wanted a platform to publish not only my essays and articles about travel but the work of other writers in the community.

The Frightened Traveler was born.

What is Up With Ghost?

Ghost is the publishing platform for professionals who don’t enjoy the complexity of building a blog, even though they are experts. From the time I signed up until I published my first post with my domain name and had the basics of the blog set up only an hour had passed. Sure, I have experience with this kind of thing, but I know that anyone can have similar results.

Since, I’ve changed the theme, added integrations for commenting, analytics, and a contact form, and published many more posts. I love the ease of doing everything with Ghost, and if I had a question, there was plenty of documentation.

One thing that is much more stable and easier to set up is Ghost’s use of integrations instead of plugins. Sure, there aren’t thousands of integrations but there is enough to do everything you need to do to set up your blog.

Every option you need can be accessed from the menu on the left side of the page.

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Ghost Admin. Screenshot by the author.

Even changing the theme is as simple as uploading a .zip file. Comments don’t come with the package automatically, but you can easily set up Disqus by adding a simple piece of code to one of the theme files.

So far, the platform has been very stable, but I won’t pass judgment until I get some real traffic to the website.

The only downside I can see is that it is not free. But even WordPress isn’t free if you consider hosting and buying plugins. There are three tiers, depending on how much traffic you anticipate.

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Ghost pricing. Screenshot by the author.

Many beginners won’t be able to justify spending $30 a month in the beginning, but for the professionals, who value ease of use and stability over a small price tag, it’s a no-brainer. There is also a 14-day free trial if you want to test it out.

After a week of using it, I’ve decided I am going to continue monthly after the trial has expired because it is so easy, and I was able to build a beautiful blog with minimal effort.

Pros

  • Ease of setup and use
  • No plugins to bog down the performance
  • A true publishing platform for serious writers and bloggers
  • It’s easy to add membership and monetize the blog
  • Inexpensive for a professional-use blogging
  • This is a premium hosted product which is best suited to tech-savvy users

Cons

  • Not for beginners

I will continue to update my newsletter readers on how Ghost is performing, so if you are interested, please sign up for the To Blog Or Not To Blog newsletter.

The Takeaway

Remember that advice is a suggestion, even coming from someone who is knowledgeable, or in my case, myself. If you feel like a blog would be a good move for you as a writer, or you have a clear idea or niche in mind for a publishing platform, by all means, get started today.

Even if my blog is never a financial success, it can still be a hub for people like me interested in travel, and it serves a purpose. It’s another place to showcase my work, and at this point in my writing career, I know it will help me.

And finally, if you are looking for a different publishing platform than WordPress, give Ghost a try. It’s so easy you’ll wish you found it before.

If you are into blogging and writing in general, subscribe to To Blog Or Not To Blog, the Newsletter.

You can also find me on social media:

Medium | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

NOTE: I have since moved my blog back over to WordPress for reasons I will discuss soon in a follow-up article. Ghost is still worthwhile to use, I just felt more comfortable with WP.

Written by

Writer | Essayist | Video Content Creator | Future member of the two-comma club | Dreamer - I am doing it my way and it might take a bit longer. Don't wait up.

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