Now that my trial period on ghost is just about over, I've commited to blogging here for a year (you can pay month to month, but an annual payment is significantly cheaper). Actually, thirteen months, as they offer a free extra month for writing a review. Hence this article.
Why ghost? First of all, why blog? I started online writing almost twenty years ago to collect my ideas on software development, and I thought it'd be easy, as I enjoyed writing in high school and college, even had a part-time job writing technical product briefs for a PR firm (and wondered why they were paying me for such a simple task!)
But, except for the occasional snippy office email, I was out of practice, and it took a while to get back into a flow. And I flowed into Epinions, Wordpress, Tumblr, and most recently Medium, which I loved as a writing tool, but it's a writing tool in a greasy social media wrapper (peppered with exhortations to get behind their paywall), and I did a social media cleanse last year.
So for the past few months I've been scouting for a blogging platform to host all those past years of writing (I have much of it stored on github in asciidoc, which has a passable presentation but not great for discoverability or actual writing), and to start exercising those writing muscles again.
Now, for discoverability, ghost isn't that great. None of my googling for blogging platforms turned up a mention of ghost. I only found out about ghost when looking at some installation tutorials on one of my domain name registrars. So you'll have to rely on your own marketing of your ghost blog, or go back to social media and write something really obnoxious to get in everyone's feeds.
Still, even with my feeble marketing and handful of blogs resurrected from my archives, my free trial of Matomo analytics (it would be nice to have some built-in analytics) shows just in the past couple of days I've got hits from Ohio, China, and Las Vegas (that's me).
But as a writing tool, it's up there with Medium and feels similar. It's got a smooth typing feel, slick appearance, and it's easy to embed images (the biggest problem with composing on github). That's the most important thing to me, the ability to sit down and knock something out that's been percolating in my head all morning. Or to dabble on that great American novel that I've been planning forever.
And ghost is open source. Which is cool in itself and also gives you the option to self-host. I could save some money by self-hosting, but I go though ISPs at least as often as I go through blogging platforms (that's what happened to my original Wordpress). The Ghost Pro subscription goes to a good cause, and at about a dollar a day, there's some incentive to adhere to my New Year's blog a day resolution!