Ghost is a blogging platform for a very niche audience that prefers full control over building their websites with the use of coding. It is a minimalistic, content-first blog platform that gives HTML-savvy users a creative outlet to code their own blog.
When making a blog post in Ghost, you’ll notice that there isn’t a usual text editor, just a place to input text. In order to format your posts, the platform uses a markup language called Markdown. The screen is split in two, with the left showing you a preview of what the post looks like. There is a quick reference guide at the bottom of the input screen to help you learn the basic commands. You can also use HTML to format your posts.
Ghost’s developers tout the benefits of Markdown because you’re able to format your content without ever having to stop typing. Other platforms require you to stop your writing to click a button on a toolbar. However, there is a learning curve to learning the format, and there’s no option to turn on a toolbar for those who would want to use it.
For customizing your blog itself, Ghost has a large marketplace that links to both free and paid templates for your blog. The platform has no means of customizing the templates, so web design and coding knowledge is required for any customization.
Ghost offers only a few tools for the purposes of management and promotion. Without the use of third-party application that you must embed into your site, there is no commenting system. Likewise, adding things like RSS Feed and email subscriptions would be a complicated process for those that don’t know how HTML works. Ghost does feature SEO tools to optimize your site’s search engine ranking.
Ghost is a unique blog platform that fits a special demographic of users who prefer to run a blog a certain way. For those familiar or wanting to become familiar with the Markdown format, Ghost is one of the few offerings out there to use that coding language. Ghost is fairly new platform with its developers rolling out new features regularly, so the service may yet gain some much needed features in the future.