“Ghost” is the newest player in the field where blogging platforms compete. It’s creator John O’Nolan’s blog post explains why he saw the need for a new platform. Basically, he created Ghost because his ex-favorite blogging platform WordPress is no longer just a blogging platform. He still loves WordPress as a platform on which advanced websites can be created, including blogs, but for someone who want something for “just blogging” he thinks WordPress is too much; So he created “Ghost”.
I tried Ghost
The self hosted edition of Ghost has been out for quite a while, but I received an invitation to try out the hosted edition yesterday.
I clicked on the get started link and it took me to the login page.
Once you’re logged in you can start a blog hosted in Ghost’s servers, or download a copy of Ghost to install on your own server.
I wanted to try Ghost on their server, so I clicked “Start a New Ghost Blog” button, and I was given the choice to select a plan.
There was an option to try Ghost for free for 30 days; I choose that. And I got your typical screen to set a blog name and (sub) domain.
Once that is done, a page with the list of blogs I have created on Ghost, is presented.
This is how a Ghost blog looks like just after it’s created.
Following is the page where you can see all the posts you have written in your Ghost blog.
You have a menu to access account settings in the top right.
When you click the “Settings” button, you’ll get a screen where you can change settings of the blog.
You can change your profile too.
You can change or view details of posts by clicking on the gear icon at the top right corner of posts.
When you click on the “New Post” button, you get an empty screen like the following. You write on the left side while you can view a live preview on the right.
This is how you write posts in Ghost.
You can set vanity URLs for the posts.
There are no categories, but you can tag posts.
You can save drafts and publish them when they’re ready.
This is the homepage with a recently published post.
And this is the single post page.
I like Ghost
Just like Medium, Ghost is so minimalistic, and I like that. It is very writer friendly and inviting to write. It indeed is distraction free. If you are familiar with markdown, you can easily format your writings in Ghost; you can use the universal keyboard shortcuts like “Ctrl+B”, “Ctrl+I” as well. Just like John O’Nolan wanted it to be, it is just a blogging platform; no more – no less.
Will it succeed? Ghost have all the functionality to be the one thing it intends to be – just a really simple blogging platform. But will it be able to reach writers without technical knowledge or financial back up?
First of all, there are no any free plans for their hosted platform. When WordPress.com and Blogger are offering free hosted blogging platforms, why would someone choose Ghost paying 5USD per month for the cheapest plan? For the simplicity of Ghost you say? If you don’t make it complicated with plugins and more, WordPress is simple enough out of the box. Of course you can’t install plugins in the hosted edition of WordPress, either.
The self hosted edition is free. But you won’t be able to run it on your typical Apache, PHP shared hosting account. You’ll have to buy a VPS (Virtual Private Server) and install Node.js to be able to install Ghost.
Neither is the cheapest way for someone who is looking to start a blog on a low budget. The latter requires some proficiency in technology to handle a VPS; someone who is comfortable with that will be very very very comfortable with using WordPress and won’t find it as complex as Ghost people say, and they’ll even appreciate the extendability of WordPress.
What do you think? Will Ghost be successful?