Giving up the ghost (.org): my experience using ghost.org

Let’s start with a conclusion: I can see a use case for ghost.org websites if and only if you have an existing fan base. I think it would be great to use if you were say a YouTuber looking at building a website and having a way for your fans to get access to paid content.

For me, it was too expensive to justify upgrading to the status that allows you to do more customizing than just choosing a theme from an extremely limited number. If I had some backers that could help cover that cost, I think it may be worth it, but it simply isn’t doable for me currently.

In other words, I think if you want a newsletter like mailchimp or some way to share info with your subscribers, and you also want a website, I think ghost.org is a good way of going about it.

Pros of ghost.org

Ghost does have a number of things in its favour, just unfortunately they weren’t for me at this stage.

  • Offers tiered access to content
  • Customizable at a certain pay point
  • Can keep all your income rather than losing percentages which can add up
  • Using markdown is an extremely intuitive way to write. It’s so simple and useful
  • Photos are also automatically adjusted for web, there’s no need to upload media like in WordPress and other services (medium.com does this well too I feel)
  • They cover hosting and domains
  • The websites are very fast
  • They claim to be good for SEO, I couldn’t really check that
  • WordPress you have to manually update plugins, themes etc. and it’s really really annoying. Ghost did all that for you.

Cons of ghost.org

For me, I simply couldn’t justify the price for a few reasons, namely:

  • True customization starts at the non-starter level
  • There’s no dedicated app, so I would have to pay for and use something like Ulysses to be able to write on mobile, which is where I do a lot of my writing (same reason not to use medium for me)
  • You would have to pay extra for zapier to automatically post to Twitter, Facebook, and the like.
  • There was also no function for a contact form, although that could be my lack of knowledge
  • I couldn’t link a subdomain from Google domains, it seems Google domains and ghost.org don’t mix well. I had just bought another year’s worth of domains from Google and didn’t want that to go to waste
  • I was able to download all my posts from WordPress and upload them, but without the images, and without a lot of formatting. It would be a lot of work to fix the more than 1,000 posts I have.

So, I’m kind of back to square one. I think the best solution is some kind of combination with WordPress with crossposting on Medium (that I need to do a much better job of). WordPress is so old and clunky it comes with so many strings attached, but it’s also so versatile. Hard to know what’s right really!

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