If you’re considering making the switch, or you’re on the fence about which of these website content managers to use, read on to find out why I switched.
I’m not going to beat about the bush with this post; here’s six simple reasons why I made the switch from WordPress to Ghost. If these are important to you, it is likely you may also want to take the plunge.
For a bit of context, I was getting around 1000 organic clicks a month, was looking to consolidate a Paragraph newsletter site with my site, and don't have ads or affiliate links. If you're thinking about starting an academic blog and want to build an audience, then I would highly recommend Ghost as a platform.
1: WordPress is clunky, Ghost is very simple
Because WordPress functionality is based around plugins it can very quickly get complicated to manage all the demands on your attention. As I found myself using more and more plugins to get the functionality I wanted, the interface started to become crowded. For every plugin I installed I felt my site speed drop a fraction. I felt the website code become over-burdened with add-on after add-on. I increasingly worried about conflicts between the plugins, or which new one to choose.
Whilst the Ghost interface is simple, it was a breath a fresh air, after the stuffiness of the WordPress interface. Options are much more limited, but it does everything I need. If you're just looking for something that works, and works well then Ghost is a serious option.
2: I preferred the default design of Ghost over anything I found in WordPress
Setting up and customising designs in WordPress always seemed to be a pain. "It never looks like the picture", is how I would phrase it! If I found a template I liked, there was always so much tweaking to make it look half decent. It became a drain on my time. And when I chose a template that significantly dropped my site speed, it had a negative impact on my traffic.
With Ghost there is a lot less choice (in the cheapest tier) but the webpages look like they are advertised from the outset. Every design is fast, clean and super easy to work with. I don't need anything intricately designed, just something that looks good without too much effort.
3: Ghost is much faster
In today's age site speed is very important. Make your reader wait a few seconds too long and you can say good bye.
Now it could partly have been my hosting provider, IONOS, but my site always seemed slow. Between templates and plugins I always felt there was a lot weighing it down.
Ghost is very clean and fast so I have no worries about being penalised. I have switched to GoDaddy for my domain, but everything is optimised in Ghost so I don't have to worry about anything.
Because the user interface in Ghost is pared down, it’s a nicer experience to use and to write in. It’s also ‘cleaner’ with no complex options that I had no idea what to do with. Wordpress’ interface gets more complex, as you add more and more plugins and the writing space also became more complicated.
WordPress' user interface is also quickly becoming dated and seems to get more and more unwieldy as time goes on. Things become increasingly difficult to find as they get hidden across different menus.
Every time I logged in to Wordpress there were updates to do. With every slight update lag comes security vulnerabilities, loss of functionality not to mention they are an annoying thing to have to keep on top of.
I don’t have to worry about these with Ghost as they done in the background.
6: Newsletter functionality
Ghost is designed around subscriptions, newsletters and building an audience. WordPress is designed to be an all round website creator.
Ghost is made for writers, publishers and content creators. I love that it’s super easy and intuitive for people to subscribe in Ghost and I look forward to growing my audience there.
With WordPress newsletters felt like a chore. I used MailPoet and whilst it was perfectly doable, it felt clunky to integrate newsletter sign-ups into my blogs.
Additional things to bear in mind
It is worth bearing in mind, WordPress is more powerful due to its wide user base and plugin library. Templates are easier to customise and you’ll have much more choice in their design.
For cost, prices are comparable for under 500 email subscribers, but with Ghost, the more subscribers you have, the more it will cost you. The subscriber cost in Ghost could quite easily mount up, but that's a good future me problem to have!
It’s super easy to migrate content from WordPress into Ghost using a dedicated plugin. It does import it as HTML and won’t merge categories into Ghost’s tag-based system. However it transfers images and links just fine.
Ultimately I’m at the stage in my journey where Ghost suits me better. It’s a joy to use and I look forwards to where it will take me in the future.