I’ve been a WordPress guy ever since it came out, and I followed it through the different releases until the present day. One thing I have never liked about WP is how it handles membership. Right now, you need a plugin to handle the grunt work of membership and to get one of the better ones, you have to pay through the nose.
Membership blogs are becoming increasingly important, because, as I have written before, display advertising is going away, and I say good riddance. But, bloggers need a way to monetize their blogs without ads, and having a membership option with a newsletter is just the thing.
I recently killed all my blogs and websites, because I was paying too much in hosting fees to SiteGround. One of my blogs, Blog Differently, was something I had been working on for some time, and I planned to eventually monetize it.
I was going to bring it back on WordPress at Bluehost (a much cheaper option), but I instead decided to use something I had used before successfully. GhostPro is a blogging, membership, and newsletter platform that handles all the heavy lifting for you. It keeps track of your subscribers, and when you are ready to start charging for membership, it handles the payments and logins for you. It also gives you the option to send your subscribers a newsletter, which is a great alternative to substack (without the 20% cut).
GhostPro is 100% easier to use than WordPress. I started setting my blog up at 1:00 pm on Monday, and by 1:30 pm everything was done except for adding my posts. This kind of thing is easy for me, but they made it even easier with step-by-step instructions and an intuitive dashboard.
I even had my domain name set up with a few clicks, even though it is hosted on Namecheap.
GhostPro starts by having you choose a theme - they have a few good free ones. If you want something a little more custom, you can pay a little bit and choose another. I choose the free “journal” theme because I love the bold typography and it is the exact look I wanted for my blog about blogging.
I haven’t set up the payment options because I don’t plan on starting the membership part of it until I get a few hundred subscribers. I want to have a little age on the blog and some domain authority with Google too.
Right now, I have posted articles from Medium, which I backdated and added the canonical link, so Google won’t have any problem with duplicate content.
I plan to start adding new content every week and cross-posting to Medium.
If you are a medium writer, you will appreciate the GhostPro editor, which makes it simple to format your posts and add the needed metadata for Google, Twitter, and Facebook. After the learning curve of WordPress, I was happily surprised that GhostPro was so easy to do everything from setup to publishing blog posts.
After I get a few subscribers, I plan to send out the posts as newsletters too, and when you publish there is an option to send it to your list, much like Substack.
GhostPro is in a lot of ways like Substack on speed because Ghost gives you more themes and options to work with. Having now used both, I can say I am partial to Ghost by a mile.
And while WordPress offers more options, GhostPro is a better option if you want to do memberships and newsletters. If you want an old blog with display ads, stick with WP, if you want to step into the future and explore the world of membership for monetization, test out GhostPro.
Granted, I’ve only been using Ghost for a week, but it has already made my life easier, and it is totally worth the $10 a month I am paying for the service. The prices go up as you add subscribers, but the income you make from memberships with more than offsets that cost.
So, If I had to choose a platform for membership and newsletters, and my choices were WordPress, Substack, and GhostPro, I would pick the latter every time for its ease of use and intuitive options to help you build your blog, membership portal, and newsletter.
Take it from someone who has been in the blogging and website business for a long time, you want a tool that is a fit for the job, not something that is going to be more trouble than its worth.