Growth March 29, 2020

What blogging platform do you use?

Shawn Razek @Drbasa

I’m looking to launch a blog for my company, but can’t decide on the platform. I switched my personal blog from Wordpress to Ghose earlier this year and that’s been great.

I prefer to keep the blog ‘in house’ and not go with Medium. Wordpress is so bloated and you need a solid host for the thing to run at an acceptable speed. Ghost is quick, simple, and provides a good set of features for blogging. I will continue to host the company website separately (Currently using Webflow).

Blog will primarily be a generic company blog and an engineering dedicated one (in the future).

Curious what other folks have used or have experience with.

  1. 2

    Have you heard of TinaCMS? You can integrate it with with Gatsby making it easier for non-tech folks to edit markdown right from the browser.

    https://forestry.io is the team behind tinacms. If I didn't set up my own gatsby blog, I'd try their free plan (which I think essentially is built on their tinacms)

    1. 1

      Ah this is interesting. I'll take a look... thanks!

  2. 2

    I recently started looking into https://gohugo.io/ and have already built a website with it and I love it! There are also many themes which are also suitable for blogging and you can deploy it to a platform you want (e.g. netlify, AWS S3).

    1. 1

      Hugo is great indeed. The benefits of a static site generator:

      • It's way easier to upgrade and you have less maintenance to do overall
      • Your website is pure HTML, which makes it more secure (of course, your JS can screw everything)
      • Because it's pure HTML, it's easier to make it fast too

      Moreover, the community is very active, it's open source, and there are many themes for free.

      I tried wordpress and Ghost before, and I don't look back.

      Here's my blog: https://thevaluable.dev

    2. 1

      Interesting, I'm going to take a look into this more today. We're using Firebase right now for some of the web app stuff, so good to know we can use that!

    3. 1

      +1 for Hugo. It just does its job.

      I host my personal site using Hugo on firebase. Here is my set up.
      https://viggy28.dev/article/hosting-a-simple-website/

      And it's completely open-source. https://gitlab.com/viggy28-websites/viggy28.dev

    4. 1

      +1 for Hugo. Generating the Pages is lightning fast and a lot of themes available, such as the one I'm using https://jonny-rimek.com/

  3. 2

    I saw a pattern of people getting annoyed with WP, and now we're finally seeing people leave the platform.

    Have a look at https://versoly.com/features/blog we built it recently. We have had customers swap from WP, Squarespace and custom built solutions to us.

    Also one feature not mentioned is custom HTML posts inside the blog. We plan on adding blog post templates that will allow you to make unique content easily something Ghost and other platforms don't allow.

    If you have any questions please let me know.

    1. 1

      I see you on IH all the time promoting versoly. I just got to say, I respect your strong sense of hustle. Keep it up!

      1. 2

        Thanks, i have been doing it for last 12+ months.

        First I started with doing landing page reviews for everyone :)

        But as we got busy with product I have had to reduce that to sharing a little insight and then linking our product.

        Also I see some great people hustling hard for a few weeks and quit. It takes a long time, in marketing they say 7 times before someone buys. That means weeks/months for most products.

        1. 1

          I think with most things, people don't think in terms of months and years. That's what it realistically takes. Not everything is an overnight success. Sustained effort sometimes is what it takes. Best of luck, you probably won't need it.

  4. 2

    Recently switched from WordPress (for similar reasons you mentioned above) to Gatsby. I already work in React for my web app, so Gatsby was a logical choice. Not only was WordPress slow and bloated, it was annoying for me to be constantly context switching between the WordPress/PHP stack and the Node/JS/React stack. Very happy with Gatsby so far. From what I hear, Ghost is a really good option too and something I would consider if I didn't already know React.

    1. 1

      I've heard good things about Gatsby, but haven't really looked into it too much. Doing a quick look at Gatsby, it seems that a developer has to be more 'hands on' to deploy and get everything set-up. I self-host and manage Ghost (cost savings) and would probably do the same for the business. But once it is set-up and you have a theme... anyone (non-technical people) can take the reigns which is nice. I'll look into it more though!

      1. 2

        Sounds like Ghost makes a lot more sense for you. I would only recommend Gatsby if you were already working with React or if you really wanted to learn it.

        If I didn't know React, I think I'd probably choose Ghost too.

  5. 1

    Self hosted WordPress. I sometimes will import my blogs to medium.com using their import tool.

  6. 1

    If you're looking for a Ghost hosting solution, we may be able to help you! Seeing as you're already familiar with Ghost, we're in-the-works of offering a cheaper hosting solution:
    https://pubbit.co

    Personally I've been using a Ghost instance and using the content-api to generate the blog posts on the front end. Depending on how you're building your company site you can try that out too.

  7. 1

    I use Webflow for just about everything. Love it for blogging because the CMS is super powerful/easy, make arranging content where and how you want to super easy.

    1. 1

      I am currently using Webflow for our marketing website right now. For creating a simple landing page and some 'About' pages, I like it thus far.

      I haven't looked into it from a blogging perspective yet.

  8. 1

    Is it OK if I challenge the premise somewhat?

    Wordpress is only as bloated as someone makes it. And if you're looking for your blog to contribute to growth, you will want something that can easily scale and be modified as your needs evolve.

    Here's what I mean:

    Imagine you start scaling and hire a content marketer to help you. Would you rather do custom development just to create an interface for them because you've been using a fancy "lite" markdown framework... or would you just rather... they use a backend they're already familiar with, and have probably done their own trouble-shooting on?

    Or imagine you're getting some solid blog traffic and want to integrate MailChimp, have a couple of popups, and A/B test the design of your landing page. Again, with WordPress all you need is a few clicks to configure a couple of plug ins. With most other platforms? Potential for custom development.

    YES, WordPress can be very annoying. But the benefit is insane plug-and-play functionality with just about anything you can think of. You might be saving yourself a ton of headaches down the road if you just stick to WordPress and tolerate the smaller headache it causes now.

    Plus: if you want WordPress to run FAST, check out themes optimized for it. My go to after years of fiddling is the GeneratePress theme (https://generatepress.com/), which is super customizable to boot. I've never had any speed problems running that on cheap shared hosting plans.

    Good luck!

    1. 1

      This is exactly what I have been thinking. In an ideal state, I am not the only one creating/owning content. So, I want to use something that the 'industry' is familiar with and it doesn't take much time (if any) away from developing the product itself. I've seen this firsthand at my former company where we had one web developer and a marketing team of 50. We couldn't do anything with the website because we had to have a developer change everything (including text).

      I am not opposed to WordPress, I just think it is getting a little outdated and bloated. The reason why I like Ghost, is that it has many 'out of the box' integrations like Mailchimp, Wordpress, Zapier, etc. They don't have as many as WordPress, but we're not trying to build a bog we're going to monetize. Looking at solutions like Gatsby and the others, I would need to spend engineering cycles to either 1. build the integration from scratch or 2. deploy it. If we do have a content manager (or general marketers) come on, I don't want them to be spending tons of cycles learning a new tool.

      Thanks for the link.. I'll take a look.

  9. 1

    Ignore everything suggested here and go super simple by using Publii + Netlify

  10. 1

    I'm just rolling with jekyll + github + netlify -- it's so easy, it's amazing. And it costs nothing. :)

    1. 1

      My setup as well!

  11. 1

    Hiya! I've been building a blogging platform called Imprint (imprint.to) for the past months, which sounds like something you're looking for. It's still in the earlier stages, but I think you'll be able to comfortably run a blog from it. It has the convenience of setup that Blogger and Medium provide, while also letting you put it on your own custom domain. And it's 100% free! I'd be happy to shoot you an invite code if you're interested :)

    1. 1

      Thanks for the recommendation! Do you host the blog? What does the editor look like?

      1. 1

        I'm hosting blogs on here for free — here's how the editor looks https://imgur.com/a/cPdtuiI. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  12. 1

    I use Jekyll for GitHub pages. There are really nice templates and it gives you a lot of flexibility to design your own stuff.

  13. 1

    For what kind of blogging? Will you sell sth? Or you will use it just for quick seo? small level i can advise WP, mid-size projects netlify or gatsby or(if you can manage CRUD) nodeJS(express), for enterprise level (especially e-commerce) laravel or django.... thats all have own seo, optimization tricks. Just decide what you want to do then follow the lights ;)

    1. 1

      It will be a company and engineering blog. So more like SEO. Many people on this thread have suggested netlify (or some version of it). I'll dig into that more.

  14. 1

    11ty is really nice. It is pure javascript, is low configuration, has good documentation and is pretty damn fast. It lacks a CMS, but you could use something like Netlify CMS. Here is a boilerplate that I haven't used myself but is very well documented.

  15. 1

    I use Zola (static site generator). It's written in Rust and comes as single binary file, it has all features that you would need. You can host it on github and setup deployment on push via github actions.
    https://github.com/getzola/zola

  16. 1

    Ghost. Its very simple and easy to use. But its quite limited in its functionality. On the other hand the limitations force you to build a minimalistic and fast blog.

    1. 2

      Yeah -- Limitations can sometimes be nice and it creates a fluid, fast experience. We're just looking to use it for a company and engineering blog... so we don't need all the 'bells & whistles' to try and monetize it or anything.

      1. 1

        I chose Jekyll in the end (was looking at Hugo too), because I might need some customisations on the way. Hugo is definitely much faster, but I guess you would need thousands of pages to appreciate that.

  17. 1

    I use Jekyll and I actually migrated from WordPress. I like the flexibility that the plugin system gives you. I was also looking into Ghost and it's probably a fine choice.

    I did not like Hugo because of lack of plugins (although maybe it's not such a big issue in the end) and I did not like Gatsby, because honestly you shouldn't need to bring React to your blog in my mind.

    These tools are not platforms per se, but I am inclining not to use "platforms".