I've spent time, capital and resources on my WordPress websites only to abandon the platform because the seemingly endless amounts of customizability made me focus on themes and plugins, not content. 600 USD investing in themes and plugins. Hours spent troubleshoot compatability. Countless hours wasted looking at crappy themes and plugins without learning anything new.
WordPress has restrictions. Each theme and each plugin inside of WordPress has it's own restrictions. The user, then, is forced to work inside of these restrictions. This can be a frustrating experience.
Learning just a bit of HTMl and CSS would mean you could create AND customize your website to your liking. Instead of jumping abroad the WordPress train, take the html train. It's a little longer before you reach your end destination, but you'll atleast be able to find your way around the town when you reach the end station.
In my search after a 'better wordpress alternative' i learned that Wordpress originated as a CMS. CMS stands for content management system and is all about managing, changing and updating content on a website. WordPress is still a cms but it tries to be everything else too.
My first stop ended up on the website CraftCMS. At first glance this system looked great. They have a demo and their back-end made me realize what a CMS is really about: Managing content. In CraftCMS content producers have easy-access to uploading, changing and managing content on the website while the developer takes care of the code and design of the webpage. The content-producer only worries about producing content and leaves the rest for the experts. I was excited about what i had found and started to look at how i could change the theme away from the standard one.
This was were my crush on CraftCMS ended.
It was not possible to purchase themes with CraftCMS. CraftCMS has a DIY philosophy of 'code your own theme'. This forces beginners like myself to decide about investing time in learn to code now, or pay someone to create the website for me which would break my budget, or not have a website at all. Because of this philosophy and what appeared to me as a closed system meant for pro website developers I started to look elsewhere.
What i finally landed on was a website called ghost.org. Ghost brands itself as The professional publishing platform. I signed up for their 14 day trial and I liked the way the initial demo worked.
Like CraftCMS, Ghost is focused around publishing content. Just what i wanted.
Though, as i looked into their pricing options i soon came to realize that this would not be an option for me either, monthly payments after the trial ended neared $30 dollars per month. This equates to $360 dollars per year which is a considerable amount more than what hosting providers charge for a wordpress website.
I did some more googling and searched after 'Ghost discount' and found a thread that explained it's origins with some additional price information. Ghost was started as a Kickstarter project aiming to bring a simpler way to publishing content online.
In this thread original kickstarters made a backlash about a recent pricing change to Ghost. A few comments down the lines noted that Ghost was self-hostable.
The self-hosted Ghost version instantly got my attention.
I looked at the Ghost price again, the $30 dollars per month introductory price after the trial period over at ghost.org includes additional services including CDN, Customer Support, Domain registration et. al.
These services are beyond the scope of what i needed and i could most likely find similar options that works as good but more cheaply for me in the long-run.
I found out that Ghost features a collection of themes, which at first glance looks great as compared to the many Wordpress themes i've looked at, that i could download for free and purchase. These can all be found here:
This was the turning point for me.
I used Digital Ocean to set up my Ghost droplet and within minutes i had my website up and running. There were some additional tweaks required to link Ghost to my domain, but other than that i started to focus on writing content straight away.
Ghost has ended up being just what i wanted, a platform to write, share ideas and express myself easily and distraction free with the world.