I used WordPress for blogging since 2007 and that changed when I decided to give Ghost a try in 2014. I stopped writing back then and thought to change to a simpler platform which was solely focused on writing and publishing would make me write again. For me, it’s very easy to see how wrong I was, since the article named “Goodbye WordPress and Hello Ghost” was my last article published on Ghost.
Why did I change back to WordPress
Changing to ghost didn’t make me start writing again magically
While this is not a reason to go back to WordPress, it was how I convinced myself to move to Ghost and now the main reason didn’t make sense anymore.
Having a server for a website that I didn’t update didn’t make sense.
The server I set up for my ghost blog was my first (and only one for a while). Then, I created another server and optimized it to serve my WordPress sites, and moved the important sites I had from Dreamhost to this server. So, I had two servers; one for my ghost blog and one for my WordPress sites. Of course, I could run ghost on this server, but it would defeat the purpose since I want an optimized server to run WordPress.
WordPress is easy to customize and has plugins for almost every situation
Actually, this is not a compelling argument in my case, since I wanted as little as possible in the case of plugins. For that very reason, while I was developing the theme, I added the social bar and newsletter modules. But, there are of course too many things that a website might need and it would be counterproductive to hand-code everything needed. So, I have a couple plugins I use on my websites, which are:
WordPress sites can be fast too
While I’m writing this, this wordpress site is on maintenance mode and the ghost one is live. So, I had a chance to check the performance differences. I did the test on my twice mentioned already, Goodbye WordPress and Hello Ghost article and the results surprised my to say the least.
While on maintenance, I don’t have a header image for the article yet and ghost blog has Disqus plugin installed. And let’s not forget that this is not a WordPress vs ghost test. This is just a test to see how my blog performs on two different platforms. So the WordPress website has an advantage in that part. Here are the score averages for 10 test performed on each version of the posts:
WordPress, without Disqus: 1.509 s
Ghost, with Disqus: 1.83 s
Well, of course having Disqus installed on ghost, makes itself visible with the results, since it doesn’t make sense for it to be slower. Seeing this result, I installed Disqus plugin on WordPress to see how bad it would perform under the same circumstances.
WordPress, with Disqus: 1.962 s
Ghost, with Disqus: 1.784 s
Ok, now the results make more sense. But, seeing both perform this close, shows that I wasn’t that wrong about ditching ghost since the difference is acceptable in this case.
Designing a theme
Underscores and creating a WordPress theme
While I have edited WordPress themes before, this was actually going to be the first theme I created from scratch and to be able to do that, I’ve done lots of reading before even getting started. Decided it was best to go with a starter theme and _s looked like the best option, it being created by automattic.
Theme development took some time because since I was going to dive deep this time, I decided to do the best I can with it and learning and using sass for the creation seemed like a good idea. And, it was one of the best decisions I have made since basics of sass was really easy to learn and it helped me to organize my code a lot better.
I have overestimated sass too much and postponed learning it for a long time for no reason it turned out.
Never having developed a theme before, I didn’t think it was going to be organized and I’ll be lost in it. But I was wrong about this too and functions.php helped a lot in that respect.
I wanted to use as few plugins as possible. And they turned out to take some time, but they were accomplished with a few lines of codes. I wrote the social share bar and the newsletter module myself and so far I’m happy with them. Though being happy with them while the website is still in maintenance mode is easy, I’ll have to see if they perform well or if I’ve made a critical error somewhere.
My only trouble was with my newsletter module. It only took me a couple seconds to implement MailChimp to the module, but posting the email with ajax was what I wanted. I’m not good with js, so even though I wasted a long time trying to find a working example, I failed a couple times. Then, I gave up and decided to go without ajax, but a lucky search got me where I wanted to go. From there, it didn’t take as long as I thought to create what I had in mind.
I was happy to switch to ghost and now, I’m happy to switch to WordPress. I’m planning to keep writing this time. And I’ve created a newsletter so you can get my writings in the future.