Switching The Blog From Jekyll To Ghost

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Okay, this post may get to geeky for most of my readers, but I’ll share it anyway for anyone working through a similar problem.

I set up paulhassebroek.com about one year ago. At that time, I knew I didn’t want WordPress as it was just too much for what I needed and I really dislike php. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never learned it and it doesn’t interest me.

I suppose I could’ve just purchased a WordPress theme or paid someone, to develop what I wanted but that wouldn’t have been as much fun for this guy. I was focused on speed and ended up selecting Jekyll, the static web site generator to power the blog and I built the site with Foundation 4. I was very pleased with the set up and the loading speed of by the site.

I work on my iPad a lot though. I use it a ton actually. Especially inbetween appointments and at coffee shops. My workflow was that I would write posts in Editorial, which saved to Dropbox and then compile and upload my blog once I had returned back to the office.

This was starting to be very inconvenient as it was the last thing I wanted to take time for when I was busy. Jekyll compiled pretty quickly on my iMac, but I could see that it was only going to take longer, the more personal finance articles I wrote.

I was also becoming aware that uploading to my server was inconvienent and was also taking time (I was also prone to make mistakes when uploading, uncompressing, and overwriting) and that part too was only going to take longer. The compiling and uploading process proved to be the most frustrating. I know there are ways to automate the uploading of the site, but I didn’t ever attempt to set it up, probably because I didn’t take the time to learn about it.

I had read up on Ghost when it launched on Kickstarter, but it lacked the features I needed. I recently revisited the software and saw the upgrades and knew I had to test it our for this site. After a converting my Jekyll theme into a Ghost theme and testing it for a couple weeks, I decided to move forward.

Today I’m actually hosting a couple Ghost blogs on a server at Digital Ocean. Their hosting service is fast and reliable. I know just enough to be dangerous when it comes to setting up the technical side of a blog, but their one click installation of Ghost made it easy. (Follow this link and we’ll both get an account credit!)

~~Ghost still has a way to go. I think more can be done with SEO and I think there are still some features that WordPress users are used to like multiple users, featured images, plugins, and archive and tag pages. Although they’re not here today, there are plans to bring these features online with future versions of Ghost.~~

UPDATE – Ghost 0.6 is here and, as you can see with my theme, they have featured images, customizable pages for tags, navigation, and SEO meta tags for posts. Ghost also now supports multiple authors but still lacks a post scheduling function, which I hope is added sooner rather than later.

So that’s why I switched. If you have a blog, you should look at Ghost and if you don’t see what you need, make sure you read through their planned features list. With the amount of features the have planned over the next 9 to 12 months, it’s going to be very compelling to switch from other CMS’s.

UPDATE April 2016 I followed Ghost to 0.7x and loved the progress the team made. I ended up with too many web properties and decided to do some housecleaning to save some time and money. I shutdown or sold some sites and consolidated my hosting on others, including this blog. For now, I’m back on WordPress but look forward to seeing Ghost 1.0.