Blogging

Is Ghost better than WordPress for blogging?

Ghost has the recipe to become a blogging favourite.

By
Berto
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Ghost is a headless Node.js blogging platform that has been hailed as the best alternative to WordPress for bloggers.

But is it really better than WordPress for blogging?

A topic that is most talked about amongst WordPress users is speed. Unlike WordPress, Ghost is a decoupled web application that has been built on modern technology which makes it much faster than WordPress, up to 1,900% faster according to the Ghost team.

I manage several blogs that I have moved over to Ghost from WordPress, including Investomania, and worrying about performance and speed has become a thing of the past.

Ghost does not use plugins, which in most cases are the primary cause of speed issues on WordPress websites. Instead, Ghost offers third-party integrations which allow your publication to connect to some well-established apps and tools like Slack, Mailchimp, Typeform and Discourse that can help streamline your publishing workflow, collect analytics, synchronise data and automate common tasks.

With Ghost, you also get a beautiful writing experience, it has a minimalistic, distraction-free editor that prevents any interruptions to the flow of writing. Similar to that of Medium.com.

For me, the best that Ghost offers is the all in one membership and newsletter feature. This is what attracted me, there is no need for third-party plugins to sell memberships, no need to use Mailchimp or any other newsletter platform to send out newsletters to your members. You can sell access to premium content, have the option to offer different tiers and the best bit of all is that the profit you make is 100% yours.

Where does Ghost fail?

The biggest letdown is that Ghost does not have its own commenting system and the Ghost team have no intentions of making this a native feature, which really sucks. Instead, you have to integrate your blog with third-party commenting platforms such as Graph Comment and Disqus. There are one or two commenting apps that have been developed just for Ghost and the only advantage they have over those named above is that they integrate directly with Ghost members, which means your users do not have to sign in twice to comment. This is something that really bugs me.

Another feature that is missing from Ghost is custom emails. There are no retention or automation emails and there is no way to customise the registration and welcome emails. I am sure this is bound to change but for now, you are stuck with generic welcome emails. The only option you do have is to create a welcome page that a member is redirected to when they signup, which really defeats the object if you are building a newsletter only publication.

Installation can be a real pain and can be very difficult if you have no technical knowledge. Unless you are a developer or have a developer to hand, self-hosting Ghost is not something I would recommend. Ghost also lacks adoption which is why you will find it very difficult to find a web host that offers Ghost hosting.

The only other alternative is for you to subscribe to the Ghost Pro service which offers everything you need to run your publication, including hosting, support, updates, transactional emails for your newsletters and access to free Ghost themes.

While touching on the subject of Ghost themes, the choice of themes are very limited, so if you are looking for something unique design-wise you will most likely have to hire a designer/developer if nothing that is available appeals to you. 

So, is Ghost better than WordPress for blogging?

Yes, hands down. Ghost was built and designed specifically for this purpose and the overall experience (so far) tops that of WordPress. It’s beautiful, it’s clean, it’s fast, it’s the future.

For any other type of website, WordPress remains king.

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