Why this blog now uses Ghost (and why I still love Wordpress)

in Tools & Tips

Ghost Heart Wordpress

I was initially very skeptical of Ghost. The world doesn't need yet another blogging platform, I thought. Wordpress is flexible and scaleable and robust; what more could Ghost possibly?

As it turns out, Ghost does have a few tricks up its sleeve:

  • It's a designer-driven software product. The visuals are polished and minimalistic; the experience flows smoothly; and it uses a strict regiment of Markdown, which means that copy and paste text won't mess up the typography ever again.
  • Writing within the Ghost CMS is a pleasant experience. Writing within the Wordpress CMS is so difficult that most people first write in Google Docs or Word and export afterwards (leading to formatting errors left and right).
  • It's incredibly easy to create a theme if you're a frontend developer. The notation is not only cleaner, but there are much fewer files to deal with. (This blog's theme runs off of two template files.)

But, of course, it falls short of Wordpress in many respects:

  • Difficulty of installation. Even if Ghost matures and becomes easier to install, it's still built on Node.js, which requires more server access than the PHP-powered Wordpress.
  • No plug-ins. One of Wordpress' strengths is that there's almost a plug-in for anything, whether it's for ranking posts, footnoting or social media analytics.
  • Poor support for categories, tags and extra fields. One of Wordpress' perks is that you can make any sort of publication by using a combination of categories and tags, and any sort of page by using a series of extra fields.

There are also small features that are missing from Ghost now, but I believe will be implemented within 1-2 years: post thumbnail images, ability to filter posts by category, etc. I'm skipping over these because they're short-term pains.

So why am I using Ghost?

For me, Ghost hits the sweet spot whenever I want to set up and run a 90s-style blog. A blog that doesn't fuss too much about categories, sidebars or SEO; a blog that's the online notebook or diary for a single person. It's great when I just want to write.

Yet Wordpress is still my first choice for anything complicated, whether it's a group blog, an online magazine or a corporate website. It's powerful enough to handle all of these cases, and the wealth of themes, plugins and support will continue to be unrivaled.

By Jason Li

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