Have you tried Ghost yet? It’s the hot, new blogging platform conceived by John O’Nolan, a former WordPress developer who became disenchanted with WP after it outgrew its blog-based roots. Ghost is billed as “just a blogging platform” and features a modern open source code base, a beautiful dashboard, instant preview markdown writing, and a single stated purpose: to help you blog. OK, you can blog on numerous platforms – what’s the big deal about Ghost?
What makes Ghost different?
Focusing on a singular niche – in this case, blogging – is one of the best strategies for online success. Where content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal are capable of morphing into any type of website – ecommerce, news magazine, community portals, etc. – Ghost is design to do only one thing: blog. The idea is that Ghost will be the best blogging platform on the web, just for bloggers and their audience.
A few of my favorite features:
- A beautiful, customizable dashboard with relevant metrics: You can see the most important information front-and-center, without limitations or requiring special plugins.
- Instant preview markdown writing: Ghost incorporates Markdown, which lets you quickly format text as you write without having to click buttons. Want an H1 heading tag? Just put a hashtag (“h-tag”) before your text. The interface also displays what you’re writing in a split-screen, so you can see how your text will look in real-time (WordPress, take note).
- Open source code: Developers can create their own themes and plugins and either give them away or sell them in the Ghost market.
My concerns about Ghost
While I love the way Ghost works and the fact that it has such a focused purpose, I do have concerns about it’s long-term viability. They include:
- The end-user – readers – won’t necessarily notice a significant difference. What’s the incentive to switch from an established WordPress or other CMS-driven blog?
- Scalability: While the core Ghost team might be focused solely on blogging capabilities, the open source nature of the project will almost undoubtedly see the development of plugins that expand the system for ecommerce, social media and other purposes. Ghost will become what it’s trying not to be.
In the end, if Ghost is to achieve wide-scale success it will either have to evolve or restrict itself to a limited market. I believe it will evolve, as user demand will ultimately dictate it’s direction. Even if the core Ghost team doesn’t allow for a broader focus, it’s third-party developers will. In the end, this could create a community debate that threatens the entire project.
Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself, and only time will tell if my prognostications are correct. I struggle with Texas Hold’em; Tarot cards are outside my wheelhouse. For now, I encourage you to check Ghost out and form your own impression.
Have you tried Ghost? Is it the next big player in the CMS world, or a limited platform destined for mediocrity?