What Kind of Sites are Possible with Ghost


When looking at the possibility of moving to Ghost, it may be good to know what is possible and what isn't. Ghost's core purpose is to be a blogging platform, but that doesn't mean that it can't be manipulated a little bit to becoming the full site that you want it to be. Ghost is not a traditional CMS like Wordpress or Drupal, but, through its theming structure, it can become more than just the average blog.

What Ghost can do

Business

With Ghost you can create custom home pages and other static pages (About, Contact Us, etc) to build out a full business website. If you are a fan of the single page sites, then Ghost can do that as well. You can have these static home and information pages, and then also have the blog living at /blog or whatever URL you want.

You can see a similar example to this on this site. We have a static homepage but then have the full blog living elsewhere. This can allow you to keep the whole site on Ghost rather than needing two platforms (one for the business side and Ghost for the blogging side).

Newspaper/Magazine

Through theming, you could also create a newspaper or magazine style site. You can use tags to change the way specific posts look on the front end, or typical html/css/js to get things laid out the way you want. With the API you can create recent posts, or a carousel of recent posts with images using the post image, etc.

Here is an example theme that can allow you to create a magazine style blog (Theme, Live Preview).

Photography

Creating either a photography portfolio site or a photo blog are entirely possible and can look extremely good on Ghost. There are some great photo themes that we like (favorite photography themes) or you can build your own. It is fairly easy to integrate a photo lightbox or whatever other features you may like, so Ghost is definitely a good option.

Selling Products

Ghost is able to accept basically any JavaScript integration, so it can definitely work if your looking to sell products through Gumroad, Stripe, or a similar service. While it isn't possible currently to have Ghost run a full eCommerce store with carts and whatever else, any sort of JavaScript/HTML integration will work just fine. We use Gumroad to sell our Ghost eBook and it works flawlessly.

What Ghost Won't Work For

Most eCommerce

As we stated above, most kinds of eCommerce won't work with Ghost. This may come once apps are around, but Ghost really isn't built for this kind of ability. So, you won't be able to build sites with carts or stuff like that. If it works for you to do Gumroad for each product, or integrate with Shopify or something, then it may work, but it would probably be better to look at a different platform with plugins built for it.

Now, it is possible to have part of your site built on Ghost and separate it from the shop. For example, you could have yoursite.com running Ghost, but then yoursite.com/shop running Shopify or whatever. You could also go the opposite direction of yoursite.com being Shopify and yoursite.com/blog being a Ghost blog. It is definitely possible to run them side by side, but, as stated above, not recommended for Ghost to run the whole thing.

Membership Sites

There is currently no way for users to be able to sign up themselves or create some sort of tiered permissions for specific people. There isn't the ability to private specific types of posts, it is either the whole blog, or none of the blog. This all makes it pretty tough to mange a membership site.

Forum/Q&A

It may be obvious, but there is no functionality that would allow for Ghost to be able to function as a forum or some sort of question and answer site. For something like that, it would be best to look at Discourse or whatever else. An app may allow this at some point, but I doubt it.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this has shown that Ghost can be used for a lot more than just your average blog. It can definitely be used alongside other platforms, but in many cases, it can also handle the entire website. Take a look around, or feel free to ask us any questions to see if we think your site could run completely on Ghost. You can definitely get creative to cover most of the aspects of websites now and have one fast and lean platform.

David Balderston