I never thought there would be a day when I would say goodbye to WordPress and say hello to a completely different publishing platform like Ghost. But here I am leaving all I've known for something completely new.
The feeling is bittersweet.
Fourteen years ago I embarked on a completely new business journey when I shut down my branding and design firm to join a startup called iThemes, a WordPress theme company that was the first of its kind in the industry. We were pioneers in our space and set the standards for what was yet to come.
During my time with the company, I designed some of the best selling themes of all time, coached thousands of freelancers on how to build profitable businesses around WordPress, and invested countless hours learning a website publishing platform that was second to none.
And I absolutely loved it. Until I didn't.
Why move away from WordPress?
There is so much that can be said about this open sourced platform and how it changed my life. WordPress provided me with an incredible living while being able to work from anywhere in the world. It was the experience of a lifetime I'll always be grateful for.
But unfortunately WordPress is no longer the best solution available and there's way better options for digital businesses.
Ghost, Substack, Medium, Big Commerce, Shopify, and SquareSpace are all great platforms for content publishers and online entrepreneurs these days. The improvements keep coming and the ease of use becoming so simple, while also being more cost effective with the valuable integrations you need for success.
WordPress certainly still has a lot to offer.
It gives you quite a bit of flexibility for your website or eCommerce needs and there are plenty of professionals who can help you with customization or support. You have more than enough free and paid plugin options to do what needs to be done. And the community at large will likely always continue to improve the platform.
The problem for me is it's just becoming so convoluted and expensive, plus the ongoing conglomerate of acquisitions make it feel like a monopolistic culture set by the man who started the platform himself. Which ironically goes against every value WP was founded on.
So spending thousands of dollars on themes, plugins, and website hosting while being marketed to all the time in the dashboard, needing to constantly update things to keep it from breaking, and having to continually figure out how to use the "UX improvements" that actually suck, have finally sent me packing.
Getting back to the basics ... writing content.
It's interesting that WordPress was started to provide bloggers with better tools to publish their content, but it's become a one-size-fits-all platform for everyone, thus in many ways moving away from making writing simple.
Blogging has definitely changed and evolved since 2005, and more emphasis has been on video content over the past several years, yet I still love and prefer writing over anything else. Platforms like Substack and Ghost have elevated their game specifically for this purpose and it's refreshing to focus on the content over maintenance, design options, and testing plugins.
In the coming weeks I will compare these platforms and write thorough reviews of each, but for now Ghost kicks ass and I'm extremely happy to be here!
The opportunity to write without all the extraneous bullshit is refreshing and I look forward to sharing my experiences in building online and digital businesses with you.