“Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine. ” - Austin Kleon
There are probably infinite reasons to start your own website. I can think of many times I've started and failed to be consistent with personal blogs in the past.
This time would be different, I would say to myself each time.
What really struck me recently, are two things that changed the way I think about starting a personal website:
- The compounding effect of the internet
- Writing as key skill for life and career building
Which platform is the BEST?
I bought my domain sometime last year and have never got around to starting it up with hosting and publishing.
Why? Well, with the various platforms available you would think that it would have been easy.
Wordpress? Yuck. While it is the default entry point to starting a website, my experience with Wordpress as a content builder at work really makes me wish I could get out of using it. The key question is; does anyone who uses Wordpress experience joy in using it?
Medium? Great platform and distribution but you ultimately don't control it. Thought I did start writing on it as a project last year.
Squarespace? Lovely, but expensive.
Now, enter Ghost.
I was watching Ali Abdaal's latest YouTube "How to set up a website" and it gave me the final push to really get going.
Also, I'm a marketer by day and we talk a lot about content marketing to our clients. I'll have to eat my medicine and build my own.
Ali has built his own website on Ghost and it seemed like it was time to give this a second look.
What's so great about Ghost?
Ghost is an opensource, non-profit publishing platform. Founded in April 2013 as a Kickstarter campaign, it has now over 2.5 million installs.
10 reasons why I'm using Ghost:
- Minimalistic interface - From the dashboard to the post editor, I find the design elegent and minimalistic. All that I want from an editing platform (No plugins, please).
- Free themes are great - Ghost acquired the team making awesome premium themes and have made those free.
- A new starter plan for only USD$9 per month - This is by far the greatest value for all that you are getting from the platform.
- Membership and subcriptions are built-in - What they have done is basically given you the option to earn from subscriptions, making it an easy way to earn from your creative work. (Think Patreon but without the fees)
- Email newsletters are native - I have yet to full explore this feature, but having it readily available is very useful. For most people, this is enough. This brings it in line with other platforms built for writers and publishers like SubStack.
- Brand control - I know where my strengths lie, and it is not in design. While I want some control, I also don't want to be setting things up (or messing things up) with every minor detail. With some basic brand colour choice, adding in a logo I am good to go. Even the email newsletter has been set up ready to go.
- Good for SEO - Optimising your posts and content for SEO should be easy, because that's what helps you rank better on Google. Ghost just makes it easy to edit your meta data (meta descriptions, feature images and URLs) and optimise it for each social platform too. P.S: I would love a LinkedIn option in the future. And you even have lazy loading built in. What!
- Zapier + Integrations - I've not been able to play around with these features much to be honest. But integrations are inherently tough to do. With this, you can connect all your marketing stacks with each other and get them talking. (These are avialable on higher tiered plans, but for the starter you do get some basic ones)
- Content snippets - What it is is basically a universal keyboard for you to copy any snippet of content (photo, text, paragraph, embed code) and save it to paste into new pages. A great idea and works brilliantly.
- Dark mode - Need I say more?
The world of online publishing has never been brighter. With tools like Ghost, I think the time is right to start building your own website and be in control of your destiny.
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