I've been using Ghost in one form or another since around 2017.
My first real experience using Ghost happened when I took the gamble to convince a client in my early days of freelancing (~2017) to use Ghost as their blog, as opposed to WordPress which at the time was the go to almost without exception for anything related to a blog.
Back then, I haven't even used Ghost myself in production, but based on the positive things people were saying on Twitter and a lot of research (Googling), I realised this would be the perfect opportunity to try put it in practice.
I absolutely dreaded the thought of building a theme with WordPress. Anything not to have to deal with building a WordPress theme, lets be honest.
Needless to say, it was a smooth experience for both me, as the freelancer to install & setup on client's Linode server, customise the theme with HandlebarsJS and for the client, the UI is beautiful and straightforward to use.
Since then I've set up Ghost for multiple clients when they want something related to a blog or publishing, and more recently, been using Ghost headless (via a server rendered NextJS application) at one of my bigger clients.
Now fast forward 2020 and I asked myself an interesting question, "What about my own blog?".
Yes, I've been hesitant to move my personal blog to Ghost.
I always thought, perhaps my personal website is too small (±2k traffic per month) and insignficant for it to be anything other than a little static site rendered by Jekyll.
The idea of just pushing my site to Git where it's backed up forever and have it hosted on Netlify for free was kind of a stress-free thought. From the technical side of things, I don't see any drawbacks. It's set and forget at its finest.
However, something occurred to me over the past few weeks.
I was going through Wayback Machine, trying to see if it indexed any of my sites/blogs between 2010 and 2016. Due to lack of backups or at the time being technologically unorganised, I lost most of my posts that I wrote over the period. And I didn't want that to happen again.
And it's pretty interesting, in those 6 years on my little Blogger, then WordPress sites, I wrote far more than I've been writing on my new static sites.
Sure as a student in a foreign country I may have been doing more exciting stuff worth writing about, but surely that can't be the only reason. I thought maybe I'm just rusty and need to write more (that's not code) as a way to stimulate the other side of my brain to get back into it, as I've been with trying to take more photos with my DSLR and some video editing over the last few months.
So I set out some time, made a cup of coffee, cloned my Jekyll blog from Github, with the idea to write about something that's been on my mind for quite some time.
I pulled up my code editor and a new blank markdown file.
Staring at the blank text file and the insersion point line flashing, something hit me like an epiphany:
Trying to write a creative post in markdown in a dark code editor literally kills any form of creative writing inspiration. Then without realising, having access to the rest of the source code, a redesign happens without touching on my initial goal.
Even the WordPress editor was nicer than having to write in markdown in my code editor.
Is it ADHD talking? I don't officially have ADHD, but a code editor isn't helping at all.
In the grand scheme of things, it suddenly made sense on why my blog's seen more redesigns than posts over the past 3 years.
And that's when I could finally answer my own question with reason to finally use a CMS with a beautiful editor designed for writing creative content.
A self hosted website on a server will always need a bit of love, to ensure it's up and running.
And if it would make me not let the little blog become dormant, perhaps all the previous hosting concerns would be a thing of the past as the end goal is to have fun and have the tools to want to give it love.
So I set out Saturday to migrate from Jekyll to a newly installed Ghost website. It took a few hours as I created a custom theme. Migrating old posts was straight forward using this Jekyll plugin I found inside Ghost's documentation.
I also recovered old blog posts from old sites I had via Wayback Machine. Took me through a nostalgic trip, but I'm glad I did it.
And a day later, this is my first post written on my new Ghost website.
The text editor is lovely indeed and a huge upgrade from markdown (read Code editor).
I know there's cool markdown editors online, like StackEdit, which I'll still use writing GitHub Documentation, but in the end writing with a fine tuned semi-WYSIWYG Editor specifically designed for the purpose of making writing enjoyable changes the whole experience.
Let's test my hypothesis and see if I will at least write a little bit more than previously.