7 Questions To Answer Before Switching From Wordpress To Ghost

7 Questions To Answer Before Switching From Wordpress To Ghost

Is Ghost better than Wordpress? - That's not the question to ask.
Is it for you? - That would be the one.

You've heard the hype. Big companies like Square and Envato have migrated. With Ghost at version 1.0, more bloggers and content creators are taking the plunge and hosting their own sites. But is the Ghost blogging platform all that it's cracked up to be?

Let me help with this decision by providing 7 specific questions.

1. Do you have a Wordpress site and/or simply want to start over?

A focused man working on a sticker-covered laptop in a coffee shop
Photo by Tim Gouw

If you don't have a blog yet, this is an automatic "yes" for you. If you have 7000 articles in your previous Wordpress site and plan on converting it over, good luck.

I've actually considered doing that at one point with an old Wordpress blog called LazyTechGuys. Then I realized that had I built shortcode API calls on the theme, so that negated the entire conversion process. And no, Wordpress-to-Ghost plugin will not do the trick. Even if you didn't make any API calls, it's likely that you'll have a plugin that pushes shortcode out like "[gallery]" or "[slideshow]" in your text editor anyway:

<div>Check out the gallery below.</div>
[gallery rows=3 columns=5] 

<div>Below is a grid of all the products we have in our inventory:</div>
[product-table product=filter rows=5 max=6]

If you're hellbent at keeping your content, this is obviously a "no" for you. Stick with Wordpress. But if you're ok with just manually converting your top 20 or 100 most visited posts, then by all means head to Ghost. Keep in mind the complexity of those posts.

2. Are you ok messing around with code?

Close-up of lines of code on a computer screen
Photo by Ilya Pavlov

Messing around will mean cutting and pasting code into your theme files. Adding comments, ads and Google Analytics (all of which are a click away in a Wordpress marketplace) are all done through the Ghost theme files. It's not daunting but you'll have to get your hands dirty.

3. Are you ok with less theme selection or willing to dive in to modify (or create) them?

Eyes and forehead of a curious person raising their eyebrows in surprise
Photo by Juil Yoon

If you've answered "yes" to #2 then naturally, you're probably willing to do the same for #3. But if you feel like you need to just start writing instead of delving into code and want the right look now, this is something you'll have to think about. Wordpress has thousands of themes to choose from while Ghost has a few hundred. The look of your posts and the kind of posts you want to produce will be dependent on what's at Themeforest, ghost.org and a few others.

This is where I spent most of my time. Trying to figure out what my blog was going to look like. Without having it to look too cookie cutter most of my changes happened in the theme's style sheets. Very straightforward. Just changing fonts and schemes give it a different look. But if you're trying to do something more involved like converting a Wordpress theme, you're going to have to either spend some time with Ghost's handlebar system or stick with Wordpress.

4. Are private posts something you need now?

Photo by Dayne Topkin

If you desperately need private posts, stick with Wordpress. As of this writing, Ghost only sets the entire blog to private but not at the post level. However, if you look at the ghost product roadmap, apps is next on the list. That will most likely include the ability to secure the post using a password.

5. Do you plan on selling and doing crazy stuff on the blog?

Photo by Alina Grubnyak

If the answer is "yes", then Wordpress may be the better option. Here's what the
Ghost development team says:

You might be better off with Wordpress when...

  • You want a full business website, not a blog or publication
  • Extra advanced functionality like ecommerce, is needed
  • You want to build your own custom features with plugins

But if you're open to having your e-commerce store (e.g. Magento) working next to Ghost as your blog engine, then stick around. The whole point of Ghost is to publish and blog effectively.

6. Do you have a team with a publishing process?

A group of young people working together around a table
Photo by Climate KIC

At this point in time, Ghost does not have a process to review posts before publishing but it is in the development team's backlog

7. Are you trying to do other stuff on top of content?

A Macbook on a wooden surface with a smartphone, a cup of coffee and an open booklet
Photo by Igor Miske

If most of what you're doing is mostly content such as blogging, posting videos and/or embedding podcasts Ghost can work. But if you're looking to mostly build a brochure site (e.g. barbershop, restaurant, etc.) or embed a store in your blog like WooCommerce, stick with Wordpress.

However, there are online stores that are now just running Ghost side-by-side next to a Magento store. You could run www.myawesomestore.com and have blog.myawesomestore.com run on Ghost.

Are there other reasons to consider? Let me know in the comments below.

About Radford Castro

I own this entire bad boy. I'm a husband, father, developer and entrepreneur. I like to make stuff.