Bloggers October 21, 2020

A Beautiful Writing Tool We Need to Talk About

Jordan Hopkins @HopsWrites

You can find the full article here.

The Cinderella-Effect

One of my colleagues once told me, "You know, Jordan...you're an app connoisseur."

It's true. I love tinkering. I like sampling from the whole buffet of tech before choosing my main course.

Before I ever started the first draft of my first full-length book, I had experimented with Ulysses, Scrivener, Google Docs, Novlr, and a whole slew of writing apps.

I wanted the Cinderella-effect. That perfect fit.

Was it part procrastination? Maybe. But, I like feeling at home when I write. I like feeling comfortable and at ease in the UI.

If it's clunky, confusing, or repetitive...forget about it.

I've done the same with blogging interfaces. I've experimented with many...

  • WordPress
  • Ghost
  • Notion
  • WriteAs
  • Blogger

And there was one that has stuck with me the past couple of years: Proseful.

About Proseful

First, let me get it out of the way: I am not affiliated with them. I'm just a fan. 😎

Proseful is a minimalist blogging platform. Its writing UI has the simplicity and Markdown capability of writing platforms like Medium and Ghost.

Screenshot of Proseful's writing interface from a blog post

Proseful vs. The World of Blogging

How does this blogging platform stack up to others? Let's do a quick rundown...

Proseful vs. WordPress

Though it lacks the uber-customization of WordPress, Proseful also lacks the extension bloat, distracting UI (though Gutenberg has improved!), and spam prevalence we encounter in WordPress.

WordPress does encourage SEO best practices within itself, but it's also an endless maze of distraction for writers.

WordPress is better for those doing commerce, building complex websites, or hosting a group of publishers.

But, if you want to just write...Proseful is the way to go.

Proseful vs. Ghost

What about Ghost?

Well, Ghost's UI is outstanding. Its writing experience one of the best. But, you have to be a solid developer with CSS, HTML, and HBS knowledge to really make Ghost work for you.

Proseful doesn't have the crazy setup or coding nightmares prevalent in Ghost. Instead, you log into your account and your list of drafted posts greet you. They wave, whispering, "Come...write us."

Much like Ghost's smooth UI and seamless use of settings while writing, Proseful integrates the best-of Ghost minus the coding hurdles.

However, you cannot have memberships or writers on your staff on Proseful (yet) like you can on Ghost.

But, for most mortals, do we need a publishing staff?

We can run memberships, build mailing lists, and collaborate with a host of third-party services.

Proseful's Beauty is Also its Kryptonite

There is one Achille's heel to Proseful: Customization.

If you need total control to switch themes at a moment's notice. If you need to add some serious API integrations. Then, you need to lean into WordPress or Ghost.

But again, most humans do not need all the things.

I've used WordPress and Ghost heavily, and as a content writer, I find myself being frustrated by the avalanche of features.

I want to write, and to write well. And this is where Proseful shines. When I log into Proseful, it's a breath of fresh air.

I don't have to worry about updating themes, Jetpack, and a billion other extensions. I don't have to worry about bricking my site because I deleted a bracket in my default.hbs file by accident.

Proseful just works.

Proseful's Typography

I love words and printed material. I'm a veteran teacher, Bible-nerd, and book lover. Clean reading is important to me.

And this is one area Proseful reigns. Among the blogging platforms, it nails the Golden Ratio, padding, line height, text size, mobile-friendly fonts, and all the typography needs right out of the box.

Screenshot of a drafted post in Proseful

Yes, I know this is subjective. But, it does nail all typography best-practices without having to inject any CSS.

I've paid for pro themes, but only to edit the code later to get the text's readability where it should be. With Proseful, you don't have to worry about readability. You can write, publish, and enjoy.

$$$

Let's talk about the money...

How much do you pay per month for hosting your website(s)? If you're self-hosting, I can't help you here as I've never done that.

But, if you have managed hosting, you're looking at $15-$30 per month for Ghost. WordPress is all over the place, but the cheapest would be $10 per month (please correct me if wrong).

Now, Proseful's pricing is as minimalist as its UI.

It's either FREE or $7 per month.

Anyone starting out blogging, should start with Proseful for free. It treats you like a professional. It gets out of your way.

If you need custom domains, high def images, and other typical paid features, then $7 per month is pretty sweet.

What I would say, is that Proseful should consider package deals. Kinda like how Carrd offers X number of sites at a set price. Since Proseful is not overly complex, it would make sense for it to offer incentives for purchasing multiple blogs.

The Right Fit?

Whether you need a professional blog (like e.g. creative content), a place to save your musings, or a breath of fresh air from the overcomplicated world of blogging platforms, I cannot recommend Proseful enough.

  1. 3

    Wow Jordan, I'm humbled 🙏 Just want to thank you again for the time you've taken to provide thoughts and feedback as things come up. Definitely goes a long way in helping to improve the platform. Also, such a well written post... I'll definitely be drawing on this for inspiration!

    1. 1

      My pleasure Jonathan! Enjoyed writing it. I know many devs on here are looking for more robust solutions, but for the act of enjoying writing...what you're building is it.

  2. 1

    Thank you so much, this is very useful article :) I use the translation services in my study. Found the free one recently here by the link https://www.translate.com/ . It works excellent, as for free service, hehe. And the other functions are also much cheaper than what equally other companies offer.

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