When it comes to blogging, there are numerous options – Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, WordPress and more. It could be quite difficult to choose one. While all of them are good in their own way, in this article we’re going to talk about Ghost – a concept that first got the attention of the world in 2012 and in the following year, it became a reality and the world seems to be enjoying it. Without any further ado, let’s get started.
WordPress: WordPress needs no introduction, it is a serious player and powers more than a quarter of websites on the internet. Launched by Matt Mullenweg in 2003, WordPress is a free & open source software (licensed under GPL). WordPress was initially released as a blogging platform, but it has emerged as a popular CMS and is used by all, be it a large business, a publishing house, or a casual blogger. WordPress is known for its flexibility and ease-of-use and you can start an eCommerce store in no time. Need a forum or maybe a social network? well, WP can do that for you.
Ghost: Ghost came into existence in 2013, almost 10 years after the WordPress. In 2012, John O’Nolan – former deputy head of the WordPress, shared the idea of a blogging platform with only one purpose – publishing. While talking about WordPress, he said “There is 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” and that was it, there was a gap to fill just a blogging platform and O’Nolan did it. The Ghost concept designs got overwhelmingly positive results and via a Kickstarter campaign the folks at Ghost received £196,362 (approx $320,000) and so Ghost became a reality. Just like WordPress, Ghost is free software released under the MIT License.
WordPress and Ghost, both offer two variants.
- The self-hosted one, which you can simply download from their respective websites (wordpress.org | Ghost.org for Ghost) and while both are free to download, you will still need a web-hosting service and a domain name to get started.
- The premium / managed variant, WordPress.com offers 4 plans, which includes 1 free plan (supported by ads) and there are 3 paid plans: Personal, Premium & Business and since these are WordPress.com site and not self-hosted one, there is not much flexibility with these plans. Only the business plan allows users to upload custom themes and plugins, but still there is not much you can do with WordPress.com.
Do not know the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
Ghost also offers 4 plans, but none of these plans are free and unlike WordPress, you can have multiple blogs on a single plan and you can do pretty much all the things you can in self hosted version.
WordPress is known for its ease-of-use and clean dashboard, but when you compare WordPress with Ghost, you will suddenly start to feel WordPress is a cluttered.
Once you log-in, you will see WordPress dashboard, which is full of options and from there you can choose what you want to do.
Ghost has a beautiful backend and it is quite straightforward. After you log-in, you will be shown your most recent content. The menu has limited options, you can see content, add new posts, change few settings and that’s pretty much it. Ghost keeps you focused on the content writing and nothing else.
The one major difference you will notice between WP and Ghost is: editor. With WordPress you have WYSIWYG editor, but you can also switch to HTML if needed.
In the case of Ghost you have a markdown editor. It might sound fearsome if you’re not familiar with markdown, it is quite the opposite. Markdown is very easy, and it can save you a lot of time while writing. With Ghost you have split view writing screen, which means you can see the output of your article(s) as you write it.
Features & Flexibility
Ghost: Ghost has the most needed features like SEO, Social Sharing built-in, so you do not need a plugin for that. Ghost supports Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which means – more speed and higher ranking in Google mobile search results. Ghost also has RSS feeds, email subscription capture forms and Slack webhook integration out-of-the-box. For looks/layout, Ghost has a centralized marketplace where you can find both free & paid products. Themeforest is another place where you can look for premium ghost themes. And that’s it, it is all you can do with Ghost, as it is for blogging only, you can’t get anything more out of it.
WordPress: As we know WordPress powers over a quarter of websites on the internet, it has to be flexible and offer a lot of features – and it does. Although WordPress does not have basic features like SEO & Social Sharing built-in, but it has plugins, that can help you achieve whatever you want. Plugins are a pretty big deal as they totally change how your website works. With plugins you can add more features and functionality to your website, with just a few clicks you can enable a plugin and easily turn your website into an eShop, a Social-Network, a membership website and more. There is probably a plugin for every feature you could think of in a website (over 50,000 plugins). Want to change the look of your website? WordPress has 1000s of free and paid templates available. With the help of plugins, you can even enable visual builder and drag-n-drop type of functions, which could totally change your experience and help you build a unique website. Adding plugins and themes is easy and you can do it right from your dashboard.
Ghost: Ghost is built using Node.js, which has a few advantages, especially the processing time. When it comes to speed – Ghost is faster than WordPress. In the amount of time it takes WordPress to respond to 1 request, Ghost will have already responded to 19 of them.
WordPress: WordPress is built using PHP, which takes more time to process requests. However, there are many optimization and cache plugins that can help you with the speed.
The community could be a factor where WordPress has no competition. WordPress has a vast community of developers and getting a help is very easy, you can easily find blogs, forums and videos on WordPress. Ghost is comparatively new and for that reason, it is limited to few thousand developers and support forums.
WordPress: Over the years, WordPress has grown into something bigger than a blog and people love it. If you have plans to do more with your website rather than limiting yourself to blogging, go for WordPress. You will have enough room for expansion, you can turn it into something big at any point of time with the help of few plugins. You should use it if you need custom features (custom plugin). The downside (with self-hosted version) is speed and maintenance, but that can be eliminated by using Managed WordPress hosting.
Ghost: If you’re focused on publishing and want an uncluttered interface, then Ghost is the platform for you. It has built-in features like SEO, form building, email collecting and social sharing. One downside (with self-hosted version) is hosting. There are not many Node.js(Language Ghost’s written in) hosting providers and also less one-click installer available for Ghost. Which means hosting for ghost could be expensive.