WordPress happens to be the most used Content Management System on the internet today. It began as a humble blogging tool, and has since evolved into a full-fledged CMS that can power virtually any niche of site, be it a news magazine, a portfolio, an eCommerce shop, and so on.
However, amidst such diverse usage scenarios, the real blogging factor of WordPress somehow went missing — at least this is what John O’Nolan felt when he introduced Ghost to the world, over a year ago.
Today, Ghost stands as a new entrant in the field of blogging tools, and seems to be rising in terms of popularity. So, how do WordPress and Ghost fare against each other? I shall try to answer this question in this article.
WordPress vs Ghost — Who Wins?
When it comes to installing WordPress, there is no rocket science involved. Considering the popularity of the software, almost every major web hosting provider nowadays offers a one-click installer for WordPress. Even if yours does not, you can still simply upload WordPress core files and then run the installer that will take care of everything for you. The key point here is the fact that WordPress has modest requirements in terms of server-side software and memory limits, thereby enabling you to run it on almost any web hosting package.
However, Ghost users do not have the luxury. While many managed Ghost hosting solutions have indeed come up, and the creators of Ghost too provide hosting solutions starting for as low as $5 per month, the overall scenario is rather scanty right now. You just cannot run Ghost on any server; to begin with, not every server has support for Node.js (most shared servers do not, so you will be better off with a VPS).
As a result, when it comes to installation, PHP-based WordPress is way better off, at least as of now.
UI and UX
Ghost’s USP lies in its user interface and user experience which is a fresh approach to blogging. The interface is minimal, and there are no frills involved. You can manage your posts and edit/create posts. Under settings, you can specify your blog details, details about yourself, or pick the theme for your blog. That’s all!
Quite obviously, while the interface is highly usable and very attractive, its minimalism does rip off certain handy features from the admin panel: you need to upload your theme files via FTP, because the admin panel does not support it, unlike WordPress.
That said, the two-column system with live inline editing is a good concept, and it shows that Ghost’s UX has had a lot of thought being put into it.
WordPress has an equally functional and useful user interface, but in terms of aesthetics and cleanliness, it fails to stand anywhere near Ghost. While the admin panel in WordPress is good enough to get the job done, and the TinyMCE editor in WP suits almost all purposes, it is not as clean and impressive as that of Ghost.
Features and Functionality
Coming now, to the big question of features and functionality. As expected, WordPress beats Ghost in terms of features. However, this is more of an unfair comparison, considering the fact that WordPress is a CMS in its own right and has the ability to cater to a wide genre of audience, whereas Ghost strives to be just a blogging platform and nothing beyond that.
Even more so, in terms of customization and available addons as well, WordPress leads the race, but once again, the comparison is unfair, because WP is over a decade old, whereas Ghost is still comparatively an infant.
So, how about we level the playing field, and compare WordPress and Ghost as just blogging tools?
In that case, WordPress might have a tactical edge over Ghost, because it works as a proper mainstream blogging tool, rather than something that might appeal to a specific audience only. Thus, while WP lets you use either the TinyMCE editor or the HTML editor or Markdown (via Jetpack), and has extra post tweaks such as categorization, Ghost limits itself to simplistic solutions that will either be super useful or absolutely useless for you. In WP, if the default editor is not your thing, you can modify it; doing so in Ghost will be difficult.
WordPress has a good number of themes and plugins at its disposal, but I do not think it beats Ghost here because by all practical purposes, the Ghost Marketplace is soon catching up and as of now, the frequency of free themes and plugins for Ghost is higher than that for WordPress. Yet, speaking purely in terms of blogging features, WordPress has the edge. Check out this roundup of 10 free Ghost themes we did recently.
Ghost is still a very new platform compared to WordPress. As time progresses, it might gain traction and the tide may turn in its favor. Node.js may become a popular technology sometime in the future and much like PHP, even shared web hosts might start offering it. Numerous premium theme shops may come up for Ghost users, and the software too may start offering additional features (say, a visual editor or HTML editor for non-Markdown users). In that case, Ghost may become the de facto standard for blogging.
However, as of now, Ghost seems pretty much far behind WordPress, even as a pure bloggers’ tool. It might be aesthetically pleasing and its features may appeal to the geek-minded among us, but for the general user, the trend is surely not much in favor of Markdown and as such, WordPress emerges as the better loved choice for blogging.
Have you used Ghost and WordPress? Which one do you prefer for blogging? Share your thoughts with us using the comments below!