I'm pleased to announce a new and improved website (for the second time this year)! Yes, it's a little embarrassing to admit that my earlier migration to Hugo & Azure was short-lived. I had so much fun working on that project. I learned many new things in the process and have no regrets. Some of what I learned I continue to use for this site and other GitHub things I learned through the experience.
Shortly after the site was live, I worked on a big client project, and there was no time in my day to write blogs. By the time I got back to starting to write, some dependencies had changed on the GitHub Actions to Azure side of things, and I was not able to publish any articles, because the GitHub Action would fail. I quickly learned that I would have to deal with that every time something changed. I didn't have time to get back into the weeds to figure out why posts were not pushing through to Azure, so I just left it until I had more time.
Fast forward to the beginning of December, when my schedule started to lighten up, and it was even more obvious that I was in over my head on this. I realized I should be using a hosted platform where all I have to do is write content and let someone else do the heavy lifting on the back end.
Hosting with Ghost Pro
This new site is hosted with Ghost Pro. I didn't want to go back to WordPress, and I know a few others who have used Ghost (hosted or not) and they are pleased so far. I have been working with a freelancer who specializes in Ghost and she helped with the heavy lifting on migrating my data and answering a lot of my questions. The theme customization will continue to be worked on, but I got the site to a stage where it's close to how I want it to look, so I chose not to wait for "perfect" to get it published and live.
What I like about Ghost so far
So far, the things I have enjoyed the most are these things, in no particular order:
The website loads quickly (although that will depend on the theme and customizations one chooses). I loved the speed of the Hugo site, with static web pages. It is hard to be as fast as that with generated content but it's far quicker to load than I recall my WordPress sites ever having been.
Having gone through the Hugo implementation and attempting to work through things myself, I can do some very basic theme customizations myself with Visual Studio Code, zip it up, upload and instantly see the changes. I purchased a theme (this one is called Saima), and with Ghost exporting & importing themes is very easy.
Code injection feature
For minor changes and scripts, Ghost offers a code injection feature to put code in that otherwise would have been something edited in the theme. It's great for temporary changes or to see how something would look. For now several of the CSS changes I want to make in the theme I have made in code injection to temporarily get the look and feel that I want.
Membership tiers & newsletters
I don't have multiple tiers yet nor do I plan on having a paid membership at this point, but someday I could see doing that. Ghost is built for publishers and this functionality is all there without extra plugins. For my own purposes, readers can subscribe to the "free" tier and get new posts emailed to them if they want that. Internally I will be able to see analytics on that in terms of how subscribers are engaging with the content. It will be interesting to see how that works.
As I write this post, all of the changes on the theme I have done myself and the developer will fine-tune where needed (i.e., it's likely I didn't do all the things the "best" way possible!), and further customize with things I don't know how to do.