I used WordPress for professional work in the past, but it wasn't the right choice for this website.
WordPress is frustrating, expensive, and time-consuming for blogging.
So, I followed my curiosity and experimented with other platforms. Until I settled with Ghost CMS.
It is simple, cheaper, and easier to use.
I didn't settle for WordPress, should you?
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- WordPress isn't always the answer.
- Starting with a cheap and straightforward platform is better.
- You can change the platform you use.
- It depends on your needs.
- Experiment and revert your decisions when you feel like it.
- An ugly website full of content is better than a pretty website with empty pages.
- I recommend Ghost CMS or blogstatic for blogging.
At the end of 2020, I decided to start a website.
My goal was to produce as much content as possible, help people with their website, and monetize with affiliate links.
In theory, that sounds straightforward. Yet, in practice, it wasn't.
I struggled with fear of not being good enough. I had a suspicion that people would judge me. Had the feeling they will tell me my writing and website design sucks.
This paralyzed me for several weeks. But, in the end, I got over the hump and drowned that voice with action and progress.
I slowly overcame those things. First, picked a name and bought the domain. Then, it was time to build the website.
So, my choice was WordPress. Why? Because, why not!? I used it for client work, knew it from my previous job, and it was comfortable.
But then, I struggled a lot with WordPress.
WP is the most used CMS in the world, and it works for companies of all sizes. But not me. Not this time. And for sure, not for this thing, I wanted to do.
Everything in WP was a distraction.
It's my fault because I was allowed to be distracted. But now, I use a platform that doesn't distract me, and the differences are visible (more on this later).
For starters, plugins were a pain.
In the beginning, plugins sound like a great idea and allowed me to do many things that WP doesn't do by default.
This opened several opportunities to do cool stuff. But the problem was when things didn't work well or didn't work at all.
How to fix stuff? What's causing the issue? A lot of times, the answer was unclear. So, I had to go down rabbit holes to find solutions.
Do you want an example? Making the contact form send the email to my domain was a pain.
Also, some plugins say they are free, but when you install them, they require a subscription.
Further, I used a lot of overlapping plugins for simple things I wanted to do. This hurt the speed of the website in the front and backend. Things got so slow.
The design was also a pain. I see a lot of beautiful websites, and I know how they look. However, I didn't have the skill to make mine like that. That's the taste gap.
This leads me to keep tweaking stuff in pursuit of a beautiful website. But if you read the backstory, this wasn't one of my objectives. Instead, the goal was to write and be helpful.
Suffice to say, this was another distraction.
Also, I found a lot of skewed advice to make affiliate sales and had to learn the hard way to do proper research and tests.
WP is flexible and allows to achieve many things. And this made me default to complexity.
I added custom code, spend money on themes and plugins.
And for what? I dread opening the website. There was so much to do, and I wasn't progressing.
If you are reading this, you might be thinking this is more to do with my inexperience and workflow not optimized to work with WP. I won't say that's wrong.
However, what you can take away from my experience is that WP needs a lot of work. It will take hundreds of hours to learn what works and how it works.
Also, some problems on WP are more manageable when you can throw money at them. But, I was unemployed and had a tight budget, so that wasn't a viable option.
My final take is that WordPress isn't worth it for simple websites. There are cheaper and faster alternatives out there. Yet, WP is a powerful solution for websites with a more complex structure.
After 3 months of fighting with WordPress, an opportunity arise in April 2021.
Ghost CMS version 4.0 was released. They made improvements, memberships were out of beta, and it got cheaper. A lot cheaper.
I discovered Ghost in January, but the new pricing was what made me take the leap.
Previously, it went from $29/month to $9/ month. I was paying that alone for the theme and 1 plugin in WP.
The price brought me through the door, but what made me stick around was simplicity.
I was self-hosting WordPress and went to managed hosting in Ghost. The difference was like day and night.
A burden was taken off my shoulders. Now, managed hosting is the new default for my websites.
Also, there are fewer things to do on Ghost. And I love that!
Furthermore, there aren't plugins available. This means fewer distractions.
You can extend functionalities with integrations, which is a lot easier. But that's optional.
Ghost is easy to use.
There are many beautiful free themes. As for premium ones, they require only a 1-time payment. This is a contrast to the subscription model on WP themes.
Since using Ghost, I stopped chasing perfection.
Now, I'm more consistent and focused.
The process consists of doing, shipping, improving, and repeating.
Also, now I have the option of sending posts by email at a low cost.
At the end of the day, I pay less and feel at peace. All this while focusing on creating a membership website.
WordPress doesn't have to be the default option for you. So, don't feel bad if you don't like or don't want to use it.
WordPress is overkill for blogging and for beginners. There are cheaper and simpler options in the market.
Starting with Ghost or another platform is recommended because the learning curve is smaller.
Heck, you can move to WordPress later if that's what you really want. Don't feel obligated to start there.
Learning a platform well takes time. So, the easier the platform you start, the better.
For me, Ghost CMS is the best for blogging, and using it feels fantastic!
But, this isn't one-size-fits-all.
You should try stuff yourself. You're not obligated to settle for what other people tell.
When I say Ghost is the best for blogging, some might not agree, and that's fine.
In the end, it always depends on your needs.
Experiment and revert your decisions when you're not happy with the results.
Remember that an ugly website full of content is better than a pretty website with empty pages.
Pick a platform you love and make a website that you and your visitors are happy with.