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Ghost vs. WordPress – Can the Kickstarter Funded Blogging Platform Knock WordPress off its Perch?

Ghost is a newcomer to the blogging platform popularity contest, but has grabbed the attention of many bloggers and is set to have a long and prosperous future – in many eyes it is regarded as the future of blogging. Ghost was first featured on Kickstarter by John O’Nolan who was looking to raise £25,000 to get the project off the ground – the Kick Starter campaign raised nearly £200,000.

Forbes – “If Mr. O’Nolan and Ghost deliver on their big idea that is now a funded project, content innovation may return to the forefront of disruptive conversation.”

Wired – “Ghost aims to reboot blogging … a combination of user-focused design, open-source code & non-profit company”

The truth is, WordPress has evolved, it is no longer ‘Just a blogging platform’ it’s a fully-fledged CMS, it’s a building block that you can use to power just about any website, from ecommerce to web apps. This is a good thing for most, but not all – WordPress was the CMS that took blogging to a new level; however it has forgotten its roots, it has forgotten about the bloggers that made WordPress what it is today – this is where Ghost steps in.

So how does a young gun such as Ghost compare to a seasoned veteran like WordPress…

Simplicity

Ghost blows WordPress out of the water when it comes to simplicity and ease of use; Ghost has its own mark-up language ironically named ‘markdown’ which is so easy to use there is no need for a wysiwyg editor (which means less bloat). It also has a split view, to the left you will find your editor, and the right shows a live preview:

Want to include a heading tag in Ghost such as H1’s? No problem it’s as easy as adding a hash tag, literally:

# This is an H1

## This is an H2

### This is an H3

If that wasn’t good enough, to add an image in WordPress you have to either know the image URL or click add media, drag the file in and so on, much harder than it should be.

With Ghost you simply add one line:

![alt text]

Then in the live preview section a box appears, simply drag the image you want to use into it and there it is, no iframes to load, no buttons to click and no settings to choose – simple.

However with all this simplicity there are limitations, for example – from what I can see there isn’t a way to add HTML or CSS directly into a page which means you have to edit the theme files directly and you can’t re-size images on the fly so you must upload them with the size you require. But is this really a negative? If you are using Ghost as just a blog, I guess not.

Compatibility

This is where Ghost hits a hurdle, Ghost is built with node.js which is not supported by a lot of web hosts, and in fact there are probably more hosts that do not support it than those that do. If you are running a VPS you should be able to install this yourself, if you’re on a shared hosting plan – chances are you won’t be able to run it.

WordPress however is built with PHP, the language that changed the web and the language that is supported by most, if not all web hosts.

Customisation

From within Ghost’s admin panel there are no customisation options; it is very lightweight. You can’t change colours or modify the layout – at least not on the self-hosted version, maybe they will add this on their ‘cloud hosted’ package. If not, your only option is to edit the theme files, however with the simplicity of the front end and the beautiful designs that are already out – you shouldn’t need to edit anything.

With WordPress you are only limited by your imagination, you can literally do anything you want from within the WP admin in your browser, you can even edit your themes core PHP files.

Community

WordPress currently has 28,424 plugins available in the official WordPress.org plugin directory, with many more premium plugins available. There are thousands of themes available and a lot of freelancers ready to work on your WordPress site.

Ghost is new so it obviously has a much smaller community and since it is built for bloggers and bloggers alone it will never be on the same scale as WordPress.

Conclusion

So which is best for your site? Both applications have different uses, in a way it’s not fair to compare them but since WordPress still boasts about being a ‘blogging platform’ it should be compared to other blogging platforms rather than a CMS like Joomla.

So, if we are strictly comparing them on their blogging capabilities, Ghost is the winner, it’s faster, lighter, beautiful, innovative and it’s simple. However, WordPress is a CMS no matter what anyone says and it is the best CMS available today. So if you’re looking to creating a blog use Ghost, if you’re creating any other type of website use WordPress.