A couple of years ago, I was an investor and interim CTO in a paid industry email newsletter company. Before I arrived, the company had spent tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to build out a WordPress site and infrastructure to facilitate paid subscriptions and content distribution.

Recently, Ghost, an emerging content management platform, released their third version that allows anyone with minimal technical skills to launch a premium paid membership site and email newsletter. (This site sits on Ghost.)

Depending on how you build a site on their open source platform, costs could be as low as a few dollars a month, a far cry from the money we spent at the company!

I recently had a conversation with a potential APB Digital consulting client who wanted to build out a premium paid newsletter product, so I thought I'd dig into Ghost's new update to see if it would meet my client's requirements. While I do so, I'll blog and live stream launching a fake site using Ghost (content), Digital Ocean (hosting), Mailgun (email delivery), and Stripe (payments). The entire launch from start to finish should take under an hour.

All of this could be done with even less setup time on Ghost’s Pro hosting platform (starting at $29/month), but I like being able to tinker and own my own stack so I’ll host Ghost’s open source software on Digital Ocean’s Ghost 1-click app (starting at $5/month).

Ghost has published a long blog post about paid newsletters, complete with case studies.

Standby for the live stream of this new (fake) launch.