My experience moving to Ghost & why I dislike Tumblr, Svbtle

In 2009 I setup this blog, sahilparikh.com, on Posterous. I liked the simplicity of Posterous together with its powerful email integration.

I moved the blog to Tumblr in Jan. 2011. It was a good move since Posterous shut down a year later.

A few weeks back I moved to Ghost.

What is Ghost?

Ghost is fresh new Node.js-based open-source blogging platform that launched to the public in October 2013 following a very successful Kickstarter campaign - raised £196,362.

Think of Ghost as Wordpress but simpler, better and only focused on publishing.

After playing around with Ghost for a while, Wordpress will seem cluttered and very Web 1.0.

Why I am moving from Tumblr

Firstly, what I always hated about Tumblr was its html editor. It was just too cramped. I am amazed that someone didn’t think of something better than that (looking at you Yahoo!). I am used to writing in Writer Pro and so Ghost’s split editor design with a real time preview is just awesome.

Secondly, I never really posted videos, audio clips or quotes on Tumblr. I just wanted something where I can publish my writing.

I tried Svbtle when it was made public in Jan 2014. Personally, Svbtle came across as too arrogant. Help emails and tweets were never answered and all Svbtle blogs look the same except for a splash of colour and an icon. Will pass.

Ghost is minimalistic and very fast. It renders really well on all devices, desktop, tablets and smartphones.

Unlike Svbtle, the Ghost team replied to my queries at all times of the day.

The Move

I created an account on Ghost.org and checked out their platform. I definitely was a little hesitant trying out something new. Hannah, one of the founders, advised me to install a local copy running on my localhost so I could make changes and get things going.

Any changes you wish to make to your theme need to be made to the downloaded files, before you upload them to your blog.

Unfortunately older software has perpetuated the idea that you should edit files live on your server… this is actually a pretty terrible idea! Your production server should always be for your ready-to-go, completed files.

While you're working on a theme, the best thing to do is run a copy of Ghost locally on your computer (this is very easy, and there are lots of tutorials about how to do it, see http://docs.ghost.org/ for our own or perhaps try a Bitnami installer). Once your theme is ready, you can make a zip, upload the file - and you're done! No disruption to your live site or visitors, and you always have a backup on your computer.

It is worth noting that when Ghost's concept of apps (plugins) comes along in Ghost 0.5, it will be possible to add features like comments and GA without editing theme files. This is just how it is done in the meantime.

[image of terminal running ghost

It took me about 20 minutes to setup Ghost on my localhost. I updated the theme and started playing around with the app. I tried installing BitNami and running Ghost but I then switched to installing Ghost manually. I preferred the manual way as it would be easy to update Ghost in the future.

Since my posts were on Tumblr I had to follow a two-step process to get my content out of Tumblr and into Ghost.

  1. Setup a local version of Wordpress and import posts from Tumblr to Wordpress.
  2. Installed the Ghost Plugin for WP to convert all the imported posts into a JSON file. I downloaded this file to my desktop.

All that was left was to upload this file to my Ghost account. This process worked flawlessly and my posts were instantly visible in Ghost.

I am now hosting this blog on the Ghost platform as it will always be up to date with the latest version - considering Ghost is still new and will have lots of updates in the coming months. I prefer not to self-host as I don’t have time updating and playing around with servers etc.

This blog uses the Ghostium Theme by @oswaldoacauan. It cost me $5 a month to keep the blog running - so worth it!

I keep thinking - it requires courage to go up against Wordpress. But, with what I have seen and experienced, they sure are going to have a very bright future ahead of them.

Helpful Links:
http://docs.ghost.org/installation/ http://www.ghostforbeginners.com/how-to-transfer-blog-posts-from-wordpress-to-ghost/ https://ghost.org/blogs/domains/ http://techably.com/ghost-custom-domain/11777/