I am working on a website that is very meta. It’s a Ghost website about Ghost websites. Focusing on Ghost themes as well as Ghost integrations. Helping newcomers to the Ghost platform in choosing a theme and integrations or customizations that suit their needs.
One of the primary purposes of this website I’ve been working on is to review every Ghost theme I can get my hands on. I intend to do these reviews very fairly, honestly and diligently.
I’m also focusing on comparing Ghost themes, using various testing tools to gauge SEO, page load times on desktop and mobile, as well as various other nifty little measures of comparison I’ve thought up, which I hope will prove to be very useful for newbies to the spirit realm when they wander in and face the important and potentially challenging task of choosing a Ghost theme for their blog or website.
I have been “playing” with Ghost now for a number of years and I know my way around. As you can see from my profile, I’ve been here on the forum a lot, answering questions for people and helping out where I can.
I’d love to see something that discusses theme behavior/strategy for paid themes (and free themes, too, for that matter!). If I don’t already have a copy of a theme, it can be hard to decide on the feasibility of customizing it, which makes it hard to quote customization, and extra hard to steer a client towards a theme that’ll be easier to work with, all other things being equal.
Is the landing page in the demo user-editable through the admin portal, or does the user need to edit the .hbs files? Are social media links coded in .hbs, or where are they? How many of the custom settings are in use? Are those ‘benefits’ boxes hard-coded, or are they being pulled from tags? Is anything obfuscated in a way that’s going to stop me from customizing something the client wants? Does it rely on a bunch of routes.yaml entries that are going to conflict with how the client’s current site is structured? For some themes, it’s possible to work it out some of the answers by reading the documentation. For others, you don’t get the docs until you buy.
Real example: I just did a customization of Groovy, possibly the most uniquely cute Ghost theme out there. The user wanted a button added to the sidebar. And the button was supposed to be user customizable (color, text, and url). Normally, I’d put those customization values in as Ghost admin custom settings, but the Groovy developer has used all 15 customization slots for making Groovy do cool stuff. So I needed to do it differently. Not a big deal, but not exactly the UI experience I was expecting to create, either.
One of the things that bugs me about the Ghost themes page is that there are star rankings, but no indication of why a theme has fewer than five stars. I’d love to have a better page to work off of!
It would be nice to also pull together add-ons and customizations. I’ve already paid for two add-ons to my site, and urged the developers to sell the add-ons. But why mess with a store if you’ve only got one or two products to offer? And Ghost doesn’t seem to have a significant presence on Envato, outside of themes. So, a good Ghost store would be a helpful addition to the Ghost infrastructure.
This is exactly the issue I’ve run into so many times And you’ve articulated the problem much better than I could have. Thank you!
I should have something ready for you soon! I’m working on reviewing the themes and integrations I currently have access to. And am very grateful to the theme and integration developers who have reached out to me expressing so much interest in this project and for providing access to their themes and/or integrations in order to help me create what I believe will be a very useful resource for the Ghost user community!
Eric Alli of Layered Craft created a metered paywall for our site, which has caused our free memberships to really take off.
Cathy Sarisky, who commented above, first did a small add-on to show the views count on each post.
She then did a major add-in called Phantom Admin, which is a custom page used to administer the posts and pages on the site, including bulk delete, bulk change status, bulk tag assignment and removal, and more.
I have encouraged both Eric and Cathy to sell these add-ins, as I think they fill some significant gaps in the Ghost ecosystem.
We’d love to have you check out and review our integration for Ghost. We provide a number of tools to make communicating with and upselling members easier, as well as easy to use Tip Jars, Gift Subscriptions and more.
That will get you into our free trial for the Space Station level, and happy to set you up with our Luna level that adds even more (site CTAs that show different messages to different kinds of readers, Contextly recommendations, and more).