Thousands of people start new Ghost publications every single month, and almost all of them end up looking for a great design for their brand new site. The Ghost Marketplace is curated directory to showcase the best themes available to people who are looking to get started.
We run the marketplace as a very simple showcase gallery with direct links to creators. We do not take any cut, commission or credit for the work of theme developers.
Anyone is welcome to submit a theme to the marketplace - however due to a very high number of submissions, we only accept the very best themes to showcase publicly on Ghost.org.
What sort of themes get accepted?
Design is certainly subjective in many ways, but there are a great deal of best practices which are taken into account when evaluating a theme for inclusion in the marketplace, such as flow, hierarchy, balance, and contrast, as well as use of typography, color, and negative space.
We also look for a well designed user experience. As well as being visually beautiful, themes should work smoothly, be easy to navigate, and make use of Ghost's available features.
Beyond a great design and a great experience, we look for themes which are unique, well maintained, offer support to their users, and are easy to set up and use for publishers.
Why do some themes not get accepted?
The most common reason is simply that we don't think the design is the right style or fit for the public marketplace. We can't give detailed design feedback for every single submission, but if your application is unsuccessful on the grounds of style then please understand that it's not personal. We do our best to curate a very high standard of themes, and we simply can't accept all of them.
The next most common reason is lack of originality and looking too similar to other existing themes in the marketplace. There are hundreds (maybe thousands?) of forks of our default theme (Casper) out there with a few minor visual tweaks. They're often very nice, but they aren't very useful for new users wading through the marketplace for the first time.
How are themes ranked on Ghost Marketplace?
Themes promoted in the Ghost marketplace are ordered by a 5-star ranking system that is applied by our team based on the following criteria:
- Compatibility — Is the theme compatible with the latest major version of Ghost?
- Usability — We look for themes that are easy to set up, work smoothly, and are flexible without a theme user needing to touch a line of code.
- Documentation — Thorough documentation is a critical component of supporting users. Public documentation is preferred, but clearly stating private documentation will accompany a theme works as well.
- Style - As mentioned above, we have very high standards for the style of themes displayed in the public marketplace. We look for best practices when it comes to things such as flow, hierarchy, balance, and contrast, as well as the use of typography, color, and negative space.
- Feature support — Themes should support the latest native features in Ghost such as search, comments, tag and author archives, and custom theme settings.
- Complaints - If Ghost users are running into problems as a result of using this theme, the theme may be demoted (or delisted) based on the severity and volume of complaints.
All themes in the marketplace must meet our development standards in order to be approved. Go through each item in the checklist below, and check off every item to submit your theme.
- Themes should pass compatibility validation using GScan
- Themes should have a responsive layout and mobile friendly styles, with compatibility for the latest 2 versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE/Edge
- Themes should make proper use of the asset helper to load all assets
- Themes should include a "Published with Ghost" link to Ghost.org
- Themes should have a working demo hosted on a URL with a valid SSL certificate, accessible over iframe from *.ghost.org
- Follow the docs
- Use code comments: Document your work (Check out Casper for a good example)
Create a sane file structure.
- Do use partials to manage components sensibly
- Don't use partials for every little snippet of code under the sun
- Include a detailed ReadMe.md with information about the theme, its features, and where to go for help
- Include a properly formatted package.json
Search Engine Optimisation
- Themes should have clearly structured data and HTML tags which are search engine friendly
- All parts of the theme should have a clearly linked navigation structure
- No SEO "tricks" - clean, well structured markup. That's it.
- Images must have alt attributes
- Theme should be built with valid HTML
- Theme should be accessible with keyboard navigation
- Theme should be optimised for colour contrast where possible
- Include extensive base styling for all possible types of content which someone might enter into the Ghost editor
- Make good use of tag and author archives
- Create custom styling and layouts for posts which are marked as "featured"
- Ensure good fallbacks when content is empty or unavailable (no featured image, no author bio, no post tags, etc)