Sometimes you need a fully-fledged CMS; something that lets you create any kind of website you want to create, with tons of bells and whistles. But other times you want a simple, elegant blogging platform. One that’s open source. And maybe even fun to use.
Ghost is a new blogging platform from John O’Nolan and team, that’s all of those things, and that’s being funded via Kickstarter. They already have a working prototype, and their Kickstarter campaign is just about wrapping up: they’ve raised over 5 times their goal.
One of the biggest advantages Ghost has over most existing blogging platforms is that it works natively with markdown. If you’re not already using markdown for your writing, you’re seriously missing out (and wasting a lot of time writing markup instead of content). With Ghost, you write markdown in the left-hand panel and you get a live preview of your content on the right-hand panel. It saves you time and gives you an instant look at what you’re writing, without having to switch back and forth to a preview (or constantly save and refresh).
Ghost’s dashboard in general is beautiful and way more efficient than most. It puts all of your important data in one place, including traffic stats, social media, content performance, and news feed. It lets you stay on top of what’s happening with your blog, all in one place, rather than clicking through multiple tabs to find what you need.
Ghost’s design is fully responsive, so you can use it on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or virtually any other web-connected device. And it’s not just limited functionality on these other devices; it all works.
If you want to extend Ghost’s functionality, you can write plugins for it. There are no restrictions on what you can do with it, really, since it’s licensed under the MIT license with no restrictions.
Ghost’s Kickstarter campaign was a wild success. Within the first twelve hours, they’d already reached 120% of their goal. And in a week they were 410% funded. That’s pretty amazing, especially for a project that doesn’t have a physical “product”. Within 2-4 weeks of the end of the campaign, VIP level (and higher) backers will start getting access. Access to others will roll out in the weeks after that.
In addition to the version of Ghost you can download and host yourself, there’s also going to be a hosted version of Ghost. They plan to have at least one hosting option that’s under $9 per month, though details aren’t clear yet.
One of the great things about Ghost, though, is the fact that it’s being set up as a non-profit organization. That means they’re not going to be sold to Yahoo! for over a billion dollars. It also means they’re not selling you to advertisers. Instead, they’re creating something for the community, and for their users, without regard to making a profit. They only need to generate enough revenue to keep going, rather than to make shareholders happy.
I’m excited to see Ghost out in the wild. It looks like a well-conceived, well-planned, and well-executed new project, and one that’s sure to be a legitimate competitor in the blog platform market.
Will you try Ghost when it’s available? What other blogging platforms have you tried? Let us know in the comments.