Welcome to Ghost

Hey! Welcome to Ghost, it's great to have you :)

We know that first impressions are important, so we've populated your new site with some initial Getting Started posts that will help you get familiar with everything in no time. This is the first one!

There are a few things that you should know up-front:

  1. Ghost is designed for ambitious, professional publishers who want to actively build a business around their content. That's who it works best for. If you're using Ghost for some other purpose, that's fine too - but it might not be the best choice for you.

  2. The entire platform can be modified and customized to suit your needs, which is very powerful, but doing so does require some knowledge of code. Ghost is not necessarily a good platform for beginners or people who just want a simple personal blog.

  3. For the best experience we recommend downloading the Ghost Desktop App for your computer, which is the best way to access your Ghost site on a desktop device.

Ghost is made by an independent non-profit organisation called the Ghost Foundation. We are 100% self funded by revenue from our Ghost(Pro) service, and every penny we make is re-invested into funding further development of free, open source technology for modern journalism.

The main thing you'll want to read about next is probably: the Ghost editor.

Once you're done reading, you can simply delete the default Ghost user from your team to remove all of these introductory posts!

Using the Ghost editor

Ghost uses a language called Markdown to format text.

When you go to edit a post and see special characters and colours intertwined between the words, those are Markdown shortcuts which tell Ghost what to do with the words in your document. The biggest benefit of Markdown is that you can quickly apply formatting as you type, without needing to pause.

At the bottom of the editor, you'll find a toolbar with basic formatting options to help you get started as easily as possible. You'll also notice that there's a ? icon, which contains more advanced shortcuts.

For now, though, let's run you through some of the basics. You'll want to make sure you're editing this post in order to see all the Markdown we've used.

Formatting text

The most common shortcuts are of course, bold text, italic text, and hyperlinks. These generally make up the bulk of any document. You can type the characters out, but you can also use keyboard shortcuts.

  • CMD/Ctrl + B for Bold
  • CMD/Ctrl + I for Italic
  • CMD/Ctrl + K for a Link
  • CMD/Ctrl + H for a Heading (Press multiple times for h2/h3/h4/etc)

With just a couple of extra characters here and there, you're well on your way to creating a beautifully formatted story.

Inserting images

Images in Markdown look just the same as links, except they're prefixed with an exclamation mark, like this:

![Image description](/path/to/image.jpg)

Computer

Most Markdown editors don't make you type this out, though. In Ghost you can click on the image icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the editor, or you can just click and drag an image from your desktop directly into the editor. Both will upload the image for you and generate the appropriate Markdown.

Important Note: Ghost does not currently have automatic image resizing, so it's always a good idea to make sure your images aren't gigantic files before uploading them to Ghost.

Making lists

Lists in HTML are a formatting nightmare, but in Markdown they become an absolute breeze with just a couple of characters and a bit of smart automation. For numbered lists, just write out the numbers. For bullet lists, just use * or - or +. Like this:

  1. Crack the eggs over a bowl
  2. Whisk them together
  3. Make an omelette

or

  • Remember to buy milk
  • Feed the cat
  • Come up with idea for next story

Adding quotes

When you want to pull out a particularly good excerpt in the middle of a piece, you can use > at the beginning of a paragraph to turn it into a Blockquote. You might've seen this formatting before in email clients.

A well placed quote guides a reader through a story, helping them to understand the most important points being made

All themes handles blockquotes slightly differently. Sometimes they'll look better kept shorter, while other times you can quote fairly hefty amounts of text and get away with it. Generally, the safest option is to use blockquotes sparingly.

Dividing things up

If you're writing a piece in parts and you just feel like you need to divide a couple of sections distinctly from each other, a horizontal rule might be just what you need. Dropping --- on a new line will create a sleek divider, anywhere you want it.


This should get you going with the vast majority of what you need to do in the editor, but if you're still curious about more advanced tips then check out the Advanced Markdown Guide - or if you'd rather learn about how Ghost taxononomies work, we've got a overview of how to use Ghost tags.

Organising your content with tags

Ghost has a single, powerful organisational taxonomy, called tags.

It doesn't matter whether you want to call them categories, tags, boxes, or anything else. You can think of Ghost tags a lot like Gmail labels. By tagging posts with one or more keyword, you can organise articles into buckets of related content.

Basic tagging

When you write a post, you can assign tags to help differentiate between categories of content. For example, you might tag some posts with News and other posts with Cycling, which would create two distinct categories of content listed on /tag/news/ and /tag/cycling/, respectively.

If you tag a post with both News and Cycling - then it appears in both sections.

Tag archives are like dedicated home-pages for each category of content that you have. They have their own pages, their own RSS feeds, and can support their own cover images and meta data.

The primary tag

Inside the Ghost editor, you can drag and drop tags into a specific order. The first tag in the list is always given the most importance, and some themes will only display the primary tag (the first tag in the list) by default. So you can add the most important tag which you want to show up in your theme, but also add a bunch of related tags which are less important.

News, Cycling, Bart Stevens, Extreme Sports

In this example, News is the primary tag which will be displayed by the theme, but the post will also still receive all the other tags, and show up in their respective archives.

Private tags

Sometimes you may want to assign a post a specific tag, but you don't necessarily want that tag appearing in the theme or creating an archive page. In Ghost, hashtags are private and can be used for special styling.

For example, if you sometimes publish posts with video content - you might want your theme to adapt and get rid of the sidebar for these posts, to give more space for an embedded video to fill the screen. In this case, you could use private tags to tell your theme what to do.

News, Cycling, #video

Here, the theme would assign the post publicly displayed tags of News, and Cycling - but it would also keep a private record of the post being tagged with #video.

In your theme, you could then look for private tags conditionally and give them special formatting:

{{#post}}
    {{#has tag="#video"}}
        ...markup for a nice big video post layout...
    {{else}}
        ...regular markup for a post...
    {{/has}}
{{/post}}

You can find documentation for theme development techniques like this and many more over on Ghost's extensive theme documentation.

Managing Ghost users

Ghost has a number of different user roles for your team

Authors

The base user level in Ghost is an author. Authors can write posts, edit their own posts, and publish their own posts. Authors are trusted users. If you don't trust users to be allowed to publish their own posts, you shouldn't invite them to Ghost admin.

Editors

Editors are the 2nd user level in Ghost. Editors can do everything that an Author can do, but they can also edit and publish the posts of others - as well as their own. Editors can also invite new authors to the site.

Administrators

The top user level in Ghost is Administrator. Again, administrators can do everything that Authors and Editors can do, but they can also edit all site settings and data, not just content. Additionally, administrators have full access to invite, manage or remove any other user of the site.

The Owner

There is only ever one owner of a Ghost site. The owner is a special user which has all the same permissions as an Administrator, but with two exceptions: The Owner can never be deleted. And in some circumstances the owner will have access to additional special settings if applicable — for example, billing details, if using Ghost(Pro).


It's a good idea to ask all of your users to fill out their user profiles, including bio and social links. These will populate rich structured data for posts and generally create more opportunities for themes to fully populate their design.

Making your site private

Sometimes you might want to put your site behind closed doors

If you've got a publication that you don't want the world to see yet because it's not ready to launch, you can hide your Ghost site behind a simple shared pass-phrase.

You can toggle this preference on at the bottom of Ghost's General Settings

private

Ghost will give you a short, randomly generated pass-phrase which you can share with anyone who needs access to the site while you're working on it. While this setting is enabled, all search engine optimisation features will be switched off to help keep the site off the radar.

Do remember though, this is not secure authentication. You shouldn't rely on this feature for protecting important private data. It's just a simple, shared pass-phrase for very basic privacy.