Before you skim through this article, let me make one thing clear:

I do not hate WordPress.

Why would I, there are endless possibilities, right?

Well, in my eyes, all the possibilities have led to an overloaded system.

The type of system that is slow, or stops moving.

This is the reason I do not work with WordPress.

Nope, not even for a tiny little project.

I learned how to create a website, but when it comes to handling users & payment, I saw this will take me a lot of time to create on my own.

As an early founder, I currently do not have that much time anymore.

This is why I decided to use an out-of-the-box solution.

So, I ended up with Ghost.

Let me explain.

What is Ghost

Ghost CMS is a free and open-source platform created by John O’Nolan (an Ex-Wordpress Developer) that allows you to create your own blog or website.

State-of-the-art WordPress with good UX, if you will.

It’s technically free, but you can also choose a paid version that handles the setup & maintenance for you.

The money goes to the Ghost Foundation, the non-profit organization behind it all.

The prices range from $9 (Start β€” Annual) to $199 (Business β€” Annual) which is reasonable to get things going.

Ghost uses NodeJS, which is an emerging language in the world of web development. You can read a whole backstory on Ghost on Indie Hackers

Ghost is easy, but also has some edges which I will get into in a minute.

Why I chose Ghost

After having created the website for my consulting business I wanted to offer a digital product.

The basic idea is that my clients often face similar problems and I can create solutions (like templates & guides) that can then help more people.

After many discussions, research, and talks I came to the conclusion I need a platform that allows users to register and pay.

An additional benefit is a possibility of creating a community around my business.

I was thinking about developing everything by myself again.

As I would have to learn a lot this would take up a serious amount of time.

So I needed a solution that saves me development time, yet gives me enough flexibility to adjust the functionalities I need.

After having tested out various website builders I came across Ghost and quickly noticed how powerful the platform is.

Especially the aspect of not having to constantly install and update plugins, yet have good search engine optimization sparked my interest.

All seemed right, but there are some downsides.

Pros & Cons of using Ghost

Well, I’ve mentioned the Pros so let me quickly pin them down for you

  • Modern UX
  • Great SEO
  • Fast setup
  • Plug & play integrations with all major SaaS solutions like Zapier, Stripe etc.
  • Minimalistic design with a focus on content creation
  • Great customer service fast & reliable

Nevertheless, I have noticed some drawbacks after working with Ghost for some weeks.

Price

Yes, the price is not really high if you look at the basic plan, but I needed a custom theme, which quickly brought me into the next higher price tier.

So if you want a website that is more custom than the basic Ghost themes you will have to pay extra.

Adjustments

Right now I am customizing the theme and always have to re-upload the theme every time I make changes, which is annoying.

Yes, you can edit code in the header and footer via code injection, but that only works for adding code to the theme, not editing within the theme.

Text-Editing

The text editor has a great look & feel, but sometimes things are off. For example when I select full lines no tooltip for editing the font appears. This might be due to some browser extensions I’m having, but Notion for example works in a similar way, but faster and without issues.

Overall the drawbacks are really small compared to the benefits, which is why I really like Ghost.

The Website I created

I created the new version of Remote ‘n Active which has free content in addition to templates, guides (for subscriber/members), and further helpful things for Remote Workers & Leaders.

Right now I have to continue working on the content so that the site is filled with life.

Final thoughts

I think it’s amazing how fast it is possible to create fairly complex websites nowadays.

You can create a simple and useful website for free with a wide range of solutions, but if you want to have more complex features like user management and payment it just costs a couple of bucks to get you going.

Ghost is a great and modern solution that is not hard to get you on the road.

For more real-time updates feel free to join me on

Twitter

Linkedin