Ghost - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Matthew Guay
Reviewed by Matthew Guay
Last updated March 1, 2018

Blogging should be focused on writing the content you want to publish—and little else. Instead, with most blogging platforms, it’s far too easy to tweak endless settings and optimize things that really don’t matter about your publishing environment instead of actually writing. The most popular ways to make blogs have turned into advanced content management systems—great for building intricate sites and stores and blogs in one, but less of a great experience if you only want to publish great content.

That’s what promoted the Ghost team to go back to the basics and rethink what a blog should be. After a mid-2013 Kickstarter campaign, they built a new blogging platform focused solely on blogging. It’s a tool to publish stories—and little else.

You start out by choosing how you want to use Ghost. The simplest is using Ghost(Pro), Ghost’s online service that lets you make a new blog in minutes. Sign up for an account and just as quickly as you could create a Facebook Page, you can have a new blog. Or, you can run Ghost’s free open-source software on your own server or a hosting service like Digital Ocean if you’re comfortable with setting everything up and maintaining your site. Either way, Ghost will have you add a name for your site—and then it’s time to write.

The Ghost dashboard opens to the Your Stories page by default, with each of the posts you and your team have published on your blog. Click New story to start writing a new post with Markdown formatting, or use standard keyboard shortcuts and the buttons on the bottom of the page to format your post and add images. Want to preview how your work will look on your site? Click the eye icon to see a rich text preview of your blog post, or the two-column button for a live view of your post alongside your Markdown copy. Then, when you’re done writing, click the gear icon on the top right to set the post’s preview image, add a description and tags to the post, and customize how it will look on Google search results and in social media posts. Then you can publish the piece or schedule it for later.

Tags are one of Ghost’s most interesting features. Much like Gmail labels, you can add as many tags to Ghost posts as you want to organize them together into sections. Each tag gets its own description and banner image so you can build out pages with specific content. Say you’re writing a book and want to publish it through your blog. Tag every chapter with the same tag, add the book details to the tag page, and you’ll have one link where you can share all the content together. In the default Ghost theme, tagged posts will even include a widget at the bottom which shows details about the tag and other posts with that tag to help readers explore your content.

There’s more, too. From the Apps menu, you can add Zapier and Slack integrations, connect Unsplash to add photos to posts easily, along with options to support Google’s AMP to display pages faster in mobile. Or, from the Labs menu, you can import and export content, enable forms where readers can signup to get notified about new articles, and more. There are also desktop apps for Ghost so you can manage your articles and write new content without opening your browser.

And that’s just about it. There aren’t that many options in Ghost—and that’s the point. It’s designed to be focused on your content so you spend more time writing and let time tweaking your blog.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Ghost Features

  • Publish content quickly on your blog with a Markdown-powered editor that’s focused on core blog features
  • Organize content with tags that group your posts together
  • Schedule content to publish when you want
  • Add your entire team to manage content together
  • Add detailed SEO details to customize how your posts appear in search
  • Host your blog on your own or use Ghost’s hosted service
  • Windows, macOS, Linux, and Web apps available

Ghost Pricing

  • Free open-source for self-hosted blogs
  • $29/month Personal plan for 1 blog and 50k views/month
  • $59/month Advanced plan for 3 sites and 200k views/month
  • $105/month Team plan for 10 sites, 500k views/month, phone support, dedicated environment, and subdirectory installs
  • $269/month Business plan for 50 sites, 2 million views/month, Team features, account manager, and 99.9% uptime SLA

Annual plans available for $19/39/79/199 per month, respectively

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