Ghost. It's a strange name for a blog product, or is it? In this post we hope to answer a few questions people have surrounding the Ghost blogging platform and reveal why so many bloggers are moving to it from WordPress and specifically Medium's blogging platform.
In the beginning...
Okay let's start with WordPress. You have heard of WordPress right? WordPress has become the most popular blogging platform on the Internet, in fact its estimated 33% of websites on the Internet run WordPress. It's been around for a long time, its free and because of those two points there are also many many themes, plugins, guides etc dedicated to WordPress.
However being around for such a long time doesn't necessarily make you the best. Over time WordPress has grown, from a simple blogging application to a fully featured CMS (Content Management System) and even e-commerce solution where people can run an online shop. While this is all well and good if all you want to do is get writing a blog or create a simple website you can easily update all these extra features can make the whole process a lot more complicated.
Ghost was an idea started by John O'Nolan (someone who used to contribute code to the WordPress project) because he was getting frustrated with existing blogging solutions, specifically WordPress:
I still think WordPress is an amazing platform, in fact I think it's the best CMS out there. But it's not what I want for blogging. There's too much stuff everywhere, too much clutter, too many (so many) options getting in the way of what I really want to do: publish content.
So where does the name Ghost come from? Well, according to John:
Like a ghost writer, Ghost, is your ghost publisher. It does the hard work anonymously, getting your content online so you can focus on the most important things: Your ideas. Your content.
Ghost was designed from the ground up as a blogging platform that went back to blogging basics. It is focused on doing one thing and doing it well, starting a blog. From the second you login to the admin dashboard its clear what you need to do to create a post, a static page or change the look of your blog.
The best blog writing experience in town
So what makes Ghost? Easy, hands down its the gorgeous editor where you write your blog posts. On starting a new post, like Medium you are presented with a clean and minimal interface focused on writing. Unlike Medium however Ghost takes the editor experience several steps further with "Dynamic Cards" (see below) which allow you to pull in dynamic blocks of content like photos, videos, tweets and embeds to really bring your blog post to life.
Why move to Ghost from Medium?
Medium tapped into this need to go back to basics with blogging with an offering of a very simple blog focused on the content and nothing else. However, Medium also comes with many downsides that may not be immediately evident:
- No customisation at all (apart from a profile logo)
- If you want to leave its difficult to export your content away from the platform
- To directly monetize your blog you need to join Medium's paywall meaning your content becomes less accessible
- No ability to pull in adverts from third party platforms
Ghost on the other had solves all of these problems:
- Brand your blog how you feel - Ghost can be themed like Wordpress so it can look however you want - the default theme is pretty awesome though (and runs on this blog)
- Ghost lets you keep your own content (text and images) and allows you export in a format that's accessible if you choose to move else where
- Ghost lets you monetize your blog content however you want - adverts, affiliates, whatever
- Embed practically any media type into your pages using the awesome editor
Hold on there, what about loosing Medium's ability to find readers for your content? Not a problem, you can still post your blogs to Medium after creating them on Ghost and have the best of both worlds! Medium allows you to import a story from anywhere on the internet to publish on your Medium account using the Medium Import Tool (see below). It even allows you to edit it the post before making it live. In addition, if you use the import tool Medium will credit your Ghost blog in the code (using a canonical link meta tag) to credit the original content and ensure good SEO practices are observed (read more on that here). You can find the import tool by going to "Stories" and then click the "Import a Story" button at the top of the page.
Okay, I like the sound of this - How do I setup a Ghost blog?
The easiest way to get started with Ghost (and we may be a little biased here) is with Midnight! Midnight offer premium Ghost blog hosting with all Ghost's features hosted on fast SSD servers for just $15 per month, with a bunch of great hosting features included:
- SSL Certificate for your URL - to improve your search ranking and stop visitors getting messages about an unsecure URL
- Custom Domain Setup if you already have a URL (e.g. www.myblog.com) we will link it to your blog for you at no extra cost
- Completely managed hosting - Midnight take care of all the technical hosting stuff including managing security updates to keep your blog secure
- Automatic Ghost Updates so your blog is always running the latest version of Ghost
- Automatic Backups so your content is always backed up on an external server
- Top notch support via email or online chat - if you have any questions about anything Ghost related just drop us a line
Midnight offer one single hosting plan (because we think everyone deserves the best) and you can cancel your hosting at anytime if you wish. On top of all that we offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you change your mind about hosting with us. So don't waste any more time and click here to sign up for a Ghost blog today.
If you need help moving over from Medium please visit your support page and contact us letting us know about your existing blog and we will help move you over.
We hope you have enjoyed this post, if you have please share it with your friends and should you have any comments please tweet us @blogbyMidnight on twitter.Title photo by by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash