Why I Made the Switch to Ghost for Blogging

I originally got my start blogging on WordPress, many, many years ago. A few years ago I decided to experiment with some alternatives, to see if I was missing out on anything.

For landing pages, I learned how to code them up from scratch using CSS frameworks like Bootstrap. Today I use 'codeless' solutions like Carrd (aff link) or Webflow (aff link) for landing pages and simpler websites.

For blogging, I decided to try out the static site generator called Hexo for my personal blog a couple of years ago. If you're not familiar with static site generators, performance, security and cost are their main advantages over Wordpress.

Pagespeed is usually around 1 second for most static site generators, and this is out of the box. You can usually host sites made with static site generators for free since they don't require a database.

The downside is you have to 'tinker under the hood' more. You have to learn some terminal commands. You have to learn some code syntax. It was all gravy in the beginning, but now I have an outdated version of Hexo with a lot of vulnerable dependencies. To somebody who doesn't code much, this can become a headache to manage.

I could hire somebody to fix it for me or I could look for a more user-friendly solution with a slick CMS and one that is more search engine optimized out of the box. That's when I decided to give Ghost a shot.

At first, I installed it via a DigitalOcean Droplet. This is the cheapest option to start but you'll still have to tinker with Terminal commands and manage your own server. You also have to configure your own newsletter email using the Mailgun API. I also had issues setting up membership functionality using the Dawn theme.

I was trying to move away from technical solutions so I ended up just subscribing to Ghost.org for their 'all in one' solution. I just log in and publish my blog posts. Everything else is taken care of for me. The themes that support memberships are more plug and play as well.

It's not cheap at $36/mo ($29/mo if you pay annually) but I think it's worth it. It allows me to be more productive at the end of the day and focus on the work that is really important. Like writing this blog post for you! :)

If you're wanting to commit to your blog or online publication for the long term I think it's important to start with professional tools that you know you can easily scale with. It's a pain in the ass to have to switch to a new blogging platform down the road.

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