The Ghost Blogging Platform

One of the many things to buzz the tech crowd in late 2013 was the new Ghost Blogging platform. My previous blog was lovely once (Dot Net Blog Engine), but it hasn't fared well with the move to Azure where the theme came out a bit mangled after an upgrade. So while I'm making my business work smarter, I thought I'd get a new online look and play with some nice tech too.

This was my old blog, a bit dated and very programmery. Look at those tabs, what was I thinking?

Ghost is very easy to install

If you know how to set up web hosting, then you're probably over qualified and will find it a doddle. I followed this guide on how to set it up on Azure and I didn't really need even that. Ten minutes after starting I had a new (basic, but good looking) blog. If you don't want to host, there are plenty of hosters out there that will, including the Ghost people themselves for $5 a month.

Ghost is easy to use

There are a few things you need to learn such as markdown (how to make text bold and fiddle with the format etc) and insert images. But really, a few minutes in and you'll be writing your first blog. An unobtrusive tooltip shows you the basics.

This is how you create markdown, the shortcuts are often the same as the standard Office Suites

When I design software I look at what I can cut from it and make the users life easier. Ghost seems to take this attitude too. A lot of people don't read (well done for getting this far) and Ghost has a very minimalistic design and introduction. Once you get the basics, you don't need toolbars, right click menus and three different ways to upload an image.

Ghost is still a work in progress

So that means Beta but I've not seen any bugs, just lacking in a few features (a spell checker for example but they'll be adding one).

I'd also like to import the old blog content but for now I can handle copy and paste.

Apparently it checks for updates by default, which is great and all, but does it install them? If so, how? What happens to my data, how do I back that up and more importantly, restore it? There is documentation out there and if you prefer to stay safe, just go with hosted and they'll look after it for you.

Ghost is good looking

The template options are low cost and there seems to be a huge choice for something not even properly released yet. Plus you can customise them easily enough.

Ghost is FREE!

But you'll have to pay for your web server unless you are happy to run it on someone else's domain. A decent looking theme from the Ghost Marketplace will set you back the price of a few cups of coffee or you can go cheap and use a free one.

All in, I'm very happy with it and it makes it a whole lot easier to get content online.

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Ryan O'Neill

Mostly about tech, working for myself and my thoughts.

Ludlow, Shropshire, UK