For years, WordPress ha been the premier platform for blogging. Sites and platforms like Joomla, Drupal, Tumblr and Blogger are examples of competing systems. WordPress is a great platform for blogging, for sure. However, the last couple of years, WordPress has taken the direction towards a more complete Content Management System (CMS) or site building platform. Agencies are using WordPress to build complex websites for clients. Lately, WooCommerce has come around as a powerful and extremely popular WordPress plugin for ecommerce.
In short, the WordPress platform is moving away from being a pure blogging platform.
Early in 2013, John O’Nolan from Australia initiated a Kickstarter project for his idea «Ghost - just a blogging platform». This clearly struck a chord with the blogging community. In a very short time, only 29 days, Ghost managed to raise an amazing 758% of their goal of £25000. The campaign ended on a whopping £196,362 on May 28th 2013. A total of 5236 people from across the globe backed the project. This enabled the project to move forward to complete Ghost as a new and very effective blogging system.
What is Ghost?
Ghost allows you to write and publish your own blog, giving you the tools to make it easy and fun. It's simple, elegant, and designed so that you can spend less time messing with making your blog work - and more time blogging. Ghost has a smart writing screen. You write with Markdown syntax on the left, and a live preview on the right. Write down your ideas and format them on the fly, never pausing to click on endless formatting buttons, never having to write long/painful HTML to express your ideas. You can even theme the preview pane to match your blog's formatting exactly.
Ghost grabs all the important data about your blog and pulls it into one place, so you can see it all together. No more clicking through tens of browser tabs to view your traffic, social media subscriptions, content performance or news feeds. Drag and drop the widgets most important to you into your own custom dashboard, and stay on top of your blog's performance.
WooThemes has joined the Ghost team at the partner level and will be creating themes for Ghost. That’s exciting, to say the least.
The first version of Ghost is focused on small blogs, but Ghost was born out of many frustrations. One of those was managing online newsrooms. Want to build the next Mashable? Ghost is being built to scale with features that allow news sites and magazines to manage editors and authors and content in a way that makes sense.
The tech stuff
Who’s behind Ghost?
Ghost is the brain-child of Australian web developer John O'Nolan. He’s been building websites (but mainly blogs) with WordPress since 2005, a year after it was launched. From 2009-2011 he worked as the Deputy Head of the WordPress UI Group, where he helped design and develop the WordPress user interface - and spoke at conferences all over the world about designing WordPress. He’s designed, built, and worked on blogs for companies including Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nokia, Virgin Atlantic Airways, easyJet, MTV, Travelllll.com, Tourism Australia, Tourism Spain, WooThemes, W3 Edge and many others.
His partner in crime, as he calls her, Hannah Wolfe, is a Senior Developer at Moo.com where she is currently working with a small team focused on a little site called Flavors.me. Hannah has been developing WordPress sites for over 7 years and prior to MOO - worked as a developer for a web agency, building websites (and blogs) for large household names in the UK.
There’s a larger team behind Ghost, too, with everything from coders to photographers and wireframing.
When can you get Ghost?
Ghost was released in version 0.3 to the almost 6000 backers that supported the project. This release represents a total of 975 commits across 843 issues from 20 incredible contributors all over the world. All in the last 4 months. Ghost 0.3 comes with the full, gorgeous Markdown editor which has been the main selling point for Ghost for many of the backers. It has a stunning post management interface, it has a simple set of settings which allow you to configure your blog, and it comes with a clean and simple personal blogging theme called Casper.
In a couple of weeks, once the team has ironed out some bugs, smoothed some edges, and given those people a chance to try Ghost out... They’ll be opening up Ghost to the public. The Github repository will go public, and everyone will be able to sign up for an account on Ghost.org.
I think Ghost looks like a very promising project, and the massive support from the online community shows that this is something people have been wanting. I can’t wait to get my hands of a copy of Ghost and start testing it.
What People Are Saying About Ghost
Forbes - "If Mr. O’Nolan and Ghost deliver on their big idea that is now a funded project, content innovation may return to the forefront of disruptive conversation."
Wired - "Ghost aims to reboot blogging ... a combination of user-focused design, open-source code & non-profit company"
TechCrunch - "Ghost will take your boring blog to the next astral plane ... it looks so darn beautiful."
Mashable - "Is This Kickstarter Project the Future of Blogging?"
ProBlogger - "a simply, elegantly designed and useful interface ... I’m really excited to see this developed"
Ignite100, Europe's £1 million startup accelerator programme - "Awesome work."
AGBeat - "first exciting thing to happen to blogging in years"