Relaunching the blog

Ever since I started this blog, several years ago, I have been using WordPress as my platform. This has given me the options to maintain the entire site from one place, whether it has been static pages (such as about me, privacy policy for apps etc.), personal CV or the blog. Now it’s time for me to change this up.

The reasons

Lately I have been unhappy the blog in terms of performance, as I feel the load time has been to high. One of the likely reasons for this is that I’ve had quite a few plugins installed, to get the functionality I’ve required. Sure, I could have cut back on some of them, but most of them were there to keep the blog stable.

Another thing I started to dislike was all the overhead that comes with WordPress. I am now at the stage where I just maintain this site as a blog, and WordPress can be said to be a full CMS. I have seen the need to use something entirely focused on blogging.

The new choice

As of today I am moving over to Ghost. As stated on their site:

Ghost is a platform dedicated to one thing: Publishing. It’s beautifully designed, completely customizable and completely Open Source. Ghost allows you to write and publish your own blog, giving you the tools to make it easy and even fun to do.

Over the last few months or so, I have read a lot about Ghost, and I believe it is the right choice for me. Using it allows me to focus on the important thing, writing. So far I am generally quite happy with the backend, as well as the frontend. After some searching and browsing, I was able to find a theme I could enjoy (as I didn’t want to create one myself), and it was rather easy to set this up.

Some technical stuff

Ghost is open source and free. You have the option to use shared hosting using Ghost Pro, but I like to have control (at least to some extent) over my own content. Seeing as Ghost is powered by Node.js I had to find another option than my usual web host. I ended up choosing to host this with Microsoft Azure. The setup there was smooth, and I am able to scale up if I suddenly get tons of traffic. As for the installation and conversion of all my WordPress posts, that will be in another post, where I will go through some of the difficulties I had to solve.

Conclusion

So far I am happy with Ghost, and I am excited to see how it works out in the future. There is still some work left to do at this time, in terms of converting all code samples I have in the older posts, but I’ll take that over the next week. Also I still have my WordPress site up, which I will need to take down, after I have set up proper redirection.

To end this post, I’d like to hear what your experience with Ghost is, so please share it in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Relaunching the blog

  1. Hey, you got it done. Looking good! I’ve been reading into Ghost as well. I’d def like to know more about your experience from WP->Ghost.

    1. Thank you. I’ll be posting a post on my experience with the transition today or tomorrow!

  2. Great choice Leif!

    I’ve delved pretty deep in the Ghost world so far. I’ve written a theme and I’m hosting my blog on AWS though I’m still running on a much older version.

    If you’re interested in learning further I posted a 3 part series on how to host your blog on AWS and make it continuously deliverable (e.g. on commit)

    http://devangst.com/how-to-
    http://devangst.com/how-to-
    http://devangst.com/how-to-

    One thing I would say though is that hosting on AWS isn’t particularly cheap if you keep EBS (Elastic Block Store) backups. I’m looking at backing up to Amazon Glacier instead.

    As far as Ghost vs WordPress goes, you’re right WordPress is very heavyweight. I feel that if you’re just running a blog you should probably host that part of your site on Ghost and other more powerful features using WordPress or another custom CMS. A hybrid site might be a better solution going forward. However, for your purposes Ghost sounds perfect!

    I’m writing a book called The Ultimate Ghost Blog right now which will go through everything from hosting a blog using AWS, to writing themes, making it green-blue deployable with 0 downtime and scaling your blog out to multiple servers (that’s the intention!).

    Welcome to the Ghost family šŸ™‚

    1. I will probably not move to AWS, but I will look into your continously deliverable series. My guess is that I can use the general ideas for Azure as well?

      I am also looking forward to your book, that will probably be an interesting read. Let me know when it is ready!

      1. You can absolutely apply the same principles. I use hit webhooks to pull artifacts on push but it will only deploy if the md5sum of the git zip archive has changed (allowing incremental changes).

        Book hasn’t been started yet but I have research and some content. It seems there’s enough interest that people would be interested in reading it.

        Do you think there would be interest in SEO etc for blogs and stuff like workflows and how to run a social media profile with little effort?

        1. I know I would be interested in a book about SEO and workflows, but I’m not sure if I personally would want to read it in the same book as a deep dive into Ghost. Guess it depends a bit on the angle of it though.

          If you need any reviewers when you’re at that stage, let me know, and I’ll gladly read and give some feedback!

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