If you decide to build your own website one day, you should start by getting to know various website platforms. Today, there are numerous options for creating the website you dreamt of without any technical or content-related hassle. In that list, WordPress and Ghost are two of the most widely used website-building platforms. And it might be confusing for beginners as they might be truly spoiled for choice here: which one is the better option, after all?
Ghost vs WordPress: The Right Pick
Needless to say that both platforms – WordPress and Ghost – have pros and cons of their own. Neither of them is perfect, but each can serve a specific purpose, and depending on the objective of your blog, you should choose the one that is ideal for a particular ongoing project.
In this article, we will be comparing both Ghost and WordPress to adjudge which one should you pick and why.
Ghost – A Simple Blogging Tool
Ghost is an open-source platform for producing and managing online blogs or publications. It is mostly known as the best headless Node.js Content Management System (CMS) for professional publishing that is popular among independent journalists and writers worldwide.
Ghost was launched in 2013 after a successful startup campaign led by former WordPress employee John O’Nolan. During that campaign, O’Nolan defined Ghost with the same words that used to define WordPress, “just a blogging platform.” The idea behind Ghost came after John O’Nolan posted a blog where he revealed his frustration with the difficulty of using WordPress as a blog rather than a content management system. Nevertheless, there are many advantages to why use Ghost:
- It is open-source, not that it really matters here though because so is WordPress.
- It is speedy: Ghost has a stack of modern technologies and is a headless CMS, which results in faster loading time.
- It is very flexible and reliable at the same time. It has an extensible rich editor: you can download images, videos, Markdown, and HTML.
- You can bring on your whole team to collaborate with dedicated public user profiles available for everyone.
- It has built-in Search Engine Optimisation.
- It has native registration forms, member management, payments, subscriptions, and email newsletters.
- It has integrated Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support that will be helpful to get a higher rank in Google’s mobile search.
And while Ghost, which has its “virtual” headquarters in Singapore, focuses mostly on the blogging activity, San Francisco-based WordPress has advanced into becoming something much bigger than just a blogging platform.
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System used for producing websites and blogs. It is written in PHP, and in case you want to create your own layouts, you might need to understand HTML, CSS, and PHP. At the same time, there is no need for programming skills to begin using WordPress and that is why it is one of the most popular website creation and management tools that started to apply a very powerful CMS since 2003.
Another thing worth noting about WordPress is the fact that there are two options for starting a WordPress site: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The differences between them refer to the characteristics of hosted and self-hosted websites. To put it simply, if you need to have full control over your website’s design, management, and maintenance and you possess some basic developer skills, you should opt for WordPress.org with self-hosting. On the other hand, if you need to publish a site as soon as possible, without having to deal with design, ongoing site operations, or other technical problems, you should go with WordPress.com, a hosted site.
Other reasons why one might choose to stick with WordPress include:
- Just like Ghost, it is open-source.
- You have two options for a web host.
- It is easy to use – you do not need to be an experienced developer to be able to navigate it.
- It is easily adaptable.
- It supports all major media data types (text, images, and videos).
- You have a great range of free as well as premium themes you can choose from.
- Due to the large number of plugins available, you can add more specialized functions (e-commerce functions, for instance) to your website.
- It has a large support community you can reach to shall you need any guidance.
One might notice that both platforms are open source and free to download, meaning any user can customize them and utilize them in any way you like, without limitations. That makes them attractive solutions among bloggers as well as startup businesses looking to deliver their content publishers while having a user-friendly blogging experience.
WordPress and Ghost both have all the core features a blogger could want, but that doesn’t mean they are entirely similar. A simple breakdown of how they differ should include main functionalities like blogging, sharing, extensibility, and cost.
Ultimately, Ghost and WordPress approach blogging in two very different ways. The biggest difference is that, if you are using Ghost, you will be blogging in Markdown — which is just a shorthand HTML. With WordPress, you’re working with a more approachable WYSIWYG (which stands for – What You See Is What You Get) editor.
Markdown may sound intimidating for those used to WYSIWYG editors, but once you get used to it, it would be hard for you to go without the time-saving shortcuts of Markdown ever again. WordPress, on the other hand, can extend your blogging experience in almost any direction, offering more advanced users an option to make HTML changes on the go.
We should also mention WordPress plugins that you need a handful of to get the most out of the blogging experience. For instance, without plugins like Yoast SEO, you will face serious difficulties configuring your posts correctly for search engines. On the other hand, Ghost has SEO features like meta descriptions and meta tags already embedded into its core, so you do not need to hassle extra just to enhance the publishing experience with plugins.
2. Content Sharing
Simply put, neither WordPress nor Ghost have the function to automatically push your content to any other platform than to your blog. With WordPress, you will have to install the Jetpack plugin (or a similar solution) in order to automate your social sharing. As for social sharing buttons, that entirely depends on the theme you are applying as well as the plugins you install. Compared to that, Ghost has built-in social sharing buttons that show up on display with each published blog post. However, you’d still need to fidget a bit with social sharing options in Ghost.
While Ghost does witness an extensive growth of themes found both on its official website and across third-party platforms, it is still not big enough to compare to WordPress’ vast theme ocean. On a similar note, WordPress audience can upgrade their websites with the tens of thousands of plugins available online, whereas Ghost still has a reputation for the project in progress. Nevertheless, it is worth adding that Ghost has more native posting features like forms, buttons, and code snippets as well as SEO features built into its core making it more attractive and less reliant on third-party engagement. With that said, Ghost cannot really handle everything that WP can — membership sites, eCommerce, directory sites, and so on.
4. Cost of Operation
The self-hosted version of Ghost is free (just make sure your hosting provider supports Node.js — we at VeeroTech offer native support for all Node.js scripts on our VPS plans).
However, if you opt to use the Hosted version that is based on Ghost’s own servers: plans start at $29/month. For a simple blog, $29 per month might be an overkill.
Similarly, the self-hosted version of WordPress is free. Hosted version, that is WP.com on WordPress’s own servers is free as well but severely limited in the free plan. The paid offering starts at $4/month, or at $25/month if you need the Business Plan.
So which one should you pick? It’s still a hard choice, so let’s run them down once again.
Why Would It Make Sense to Use WordPress?
- It is more convenient for you to use WYSIWYG editing instead of Markdown.
- You want more than just a blog, you want a website that you can monetize and sell products or services online, produce landing pages and integrate with new technologies.
- You want to build your own customized features using plugins.
- You want to have an option to address and ask for help from the WordPress community as they constantly interact and collectively produce new themes and plugins.
Why Would It Make Sense to Use Ghost?
- You want a simple and smooth blogging interface on a platform that is mostly focused on publishing more than anything else.
- You do not want to deal with plugins when managing matters of SEO, form building, and social sharing is more convenient for you to use Markdown editing instead of WYSIWYG.
- You do not see yourself making use of extra features that your simple blog does not need.
To conclude, over the years, WordPress has evolved into the biggest community in the CMS world. Ghost, on the other hand, has become what WordPress once used to be – just a platform for bloggers. Ghost seems to be a perfect option for the WordPress user who adopted WordPress ways when it was a blogging platform but has since been overwhelmed with all the extra functionality that has been introduced in the platform.
After a brief comparison, it is safe to say that both platforms are solid website solutions. WordPress has been in this industry for a longer time, and it still stands as the most powerful website building tool. At the same time, Ghost is a new platform that is mostly chosen by startup bloggers that want to operate separately from their core CMS. Both being useful content management systems, they as a whole provide some excellent features that would be of great use to help you achieve your targeted goals.
As such, you should opt for Ghost if you can afford to run Node.js on your servers (not all hosts support it), and just need a blogging tool. For everything else, WordPress is still the de facto choice.
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