I want to use Ghost - will it work for me?


#1

I apologize if this shouldn’t go into help and should instead be elsewhere, but I didn’t see a general information forum. And yes, I realize that if I were better at coding and understanding handlebars, javascript, bootstrap, and the half dozen terms I know nothing about I could probably answer these questions for myself… but while I consider myself a tech-y person it doesn’t extend into those particular realms.

I want to use Ghost for a blog starting in a few months. I had wanted to start it years ago, and I used to hang out on the old slack channel and chat about it before there was a forum, but life got in the way.

I don’t want to just start a blog purely for fun though. I have no expectations of making a living from blogging but it would be nice to bring in enough cash to pay the $29 a month plus a few other amenities. Let’s say $100/mo and I’ll be satisfied.

More would be better, and here’s where this thread comes in - there are a ton of bloggers out there who make cash (usually very little, but sometimes more) and they mostly use WordPress. There’s a lot of comparisons out there for Ghost vs Wordpress and which is best for what, but so far I haven’t found a list that clearly states whether or not Ghost can use all the monetization tools that are available to WordPress.

With that in mind, here are what I’ve been told are the best monetization methods for a typical blog:

  1. SEO optimization - Ghost has this built in, but is it manual (I put in my keywords) or does Ghost pick them out for me? Is it at least 80% as effective as the plug-ins or whatever people use with WP?
  2. Amazon Affiliates - I have no reason to think this wouldn’t work with Ghost.
  3. Ads - The best ad companies are apparently MediaVine and AdThrive, and a blog must be approved for those. Is there any reason they wouldn’t approve a Ghost blog with high traffic? Because I have the impression that most blogs are still WP and I don’t know if companies like those (who can afford to be picky) might only accept WP blogs for some idiotic reason.
  4. Ability to sell things directly such as an eBook, Printable, or whatever else - I personally have no intention of doing this, and I’m fairly sure that Ghost can work with Shopify now, but I wanted to check that this area is covered.

I’m personally planning to just do #2 and hope to get a little out of it after a year or so… but on the off chance I love it and want to do more, I wanted to check that the rest of these options were viable.

Thank you for your time! Please let me know if any of the above isn’t possible on Ghost, because I’m fairly sure it is… but I want to make sure!

Other things I have planned I think I’ve managed to find examples of on the forums. I saw someone saying that parent/child tags were a thing? So if I had a tag for “novels” I could do sub-tags for fantasy, mystery, thriller, romance, etc… which was a desire but not a deal-breaker, so hopefully that’s available. And I saw someone explaining a method for doing spoilers, even if it wasn’t really built in… Man, I’m excited. I LOVE GHOST!.


#2

YES, it is!


#3

Thanks for the reply!

I hate to pester you, but could you or anyone else provide a little more detail? I e-mailed MediaVine and asked them directly but didn’t get a response about whether or not they advertise on non-WP blogs, etc.

I’m sure you’re right but where’d you get the information?

And any idea on the efficiency of the SEO in Ghost and whether it’s manual or automatic?

Appreciate the response! :smiley:


#4

You can try the Pro version for free for 14 days and try to answer to some of your questions.

There’s a plethora of info here as well:

To answer a bit to your specific questions (though I’m no Ghost expert):

So I assume yes, Ghost can help you with this (I’m working on a similar project as well).

Cheers!


#5

Hello,

While I haven’t monetised my blog, I know of a few high profile cybersecurity bloggers that use Ghost and actually monetise it via sponsorship instead. They place a banner at the top of each page with details of the blog’s current sponsor and a link to them. This might be something worth exploring as it’s a lot less intrusive than having ads on the page (potentially a lot more secure too).

One of my key reasons for using Ghost was that I’d seen others I trusted use it, but also it’s still very clearly still in development. I think there’s a release almost every week at the moment and that really appeals to me. I also like its simplicity. Appreciate that wasn’t your question but hopefully still useful feedback.


#6

Thanks for the responses! Let me go through a few more things here - and I promise I’m not trying to be difficult or argumentative. I just like having data in front of me and appreciate everything provided!

@dsecareanu - There’s not much point in me trying Pro for 14 days at the moment. I’ve got significant overtime hours at work right now and no time to play around with something like this, especially as it will involve teaching myself a bit of coding. The only coding I’ve ever had was a single Pascal class I barely paid attention in 2003 or so. I’ll definitely be doing it, but not until late summer or Fall.

I did read that SEO article, and it’s helpful, but I’m not clear on how well it’s going to work. I much prefer the idea of it being automatic, but I’m curious if anyone has compared it to using a plug-in elsewhere, etc. I also wasn’t clear on what the “canonical” tag bit meant, if that was a way of manually doing SEO or something else, etc.

Amazon Affiliates should work, I agree. But my question about ads is a little different - I wasn’t trying to ask if it was possible to put them on the site. I know that works as I found several ghost users discussing Google Adsense. I’m trying to figure out if anyone has managed to use MediaVine or AdThrive with Ghost, not because it would be any different to, uh, “add the ads” but because those companies are strict about providing approval to use their ads. I was concerned they not might work with bloggers using anything but WP - which is unlikely, but still something I had e-mailed them to ask.

Thanks for the info! I’m glad you’re working on a similar project, perhaps we’ll learn some tricks together. Really appreciate your feedback here.

@joncojonathan - Thanks! I’ve been following Ghost since around 2014, and have been actively thinking of using it since 2015. The recent release of Ghost 2.0 got me all fired up again, along with a realization that there is always going to be a reason for me to keep putting it off with my work schedule.

As for ads, I don’t plan to use them at all unless the blog gets reasonably popular (>50k page views per month) and I don’t expect that to happen… but that’s no reason not to check out your info on sponsorship, so thanks for that. Can you link those blogs? If not, no worries!

Thanks again you too.

I’d still appreciate more information but it’s sounding better and better. I’ll have to customize a theme a bit, but what I want is essentially halfway between Casper and World Times (available on Marketplace), so I think I can probably learn a lot doing it. If I recall correctly the code for Casper is really well annotated with information to help learn.

I am very set on being able to have sub-categories of tags though, but you said that was possible I think. I.e. Reviews tag brings up all reviews, but it has sub-categories such as products, books, whatever, and clicking those only brings up the sub-category, and each can have it’s own ‘page’ on the blog, etc. I am not planning to spread myself too thin but I want to make sure that any readers (watch me not have any!) can easily sort content to only see what they are interested in.

Cheers


#7

Hi,
Here is my point of view on some of your questions.

SEO is not about keywords. We don’t live in this world anymore. You tell google what is the title and what is the most important section of your content. Pure copy-paste into the SEO tool. Else Ghost will take the first words as the most important one.

Sell things — It’s true that Ghost by itself does not have a built-in tool to turn your website into a full-blown e-commerce website, but many tools let you just do that.

If you think about it, would you discard every CMS software that does not manage videos built in? I guess not. It makes sense to rely on a third party like YouTube to manage your videos and embed those videos on your site.

Here are a few of them.


#8

Hi @WriterTrek,

Sorry for the delay. The Ghost blogs I was thinking of were www.troyhunt.com and www.scotthelme.co.uk.

Jonathan


#9

Thank you! That’s all great information.