Haven't built a website in 10 years, HELP!

They have: 1 posts

Joined: Apr 2012

While I know my way around the internet and work as an electronic tech with computers, I am defiantly not a webmaster. Ten years ago I built a professional looking website to promoted motivational tapes for a large company of a friend using Geocities. However, back then text, different colors, pictures and links was the extent of most webpages. So aside from using the extinct Geocities page builder, a web based HTML drag and drop editor, several years ago I have no website building experience.

Recently, a few months ago, I decided to use my free time to built a website. This website will be an informative website for the repair of 4-wheelers. I will have an area of links that lead to separate pages of embedded "how to" video's with specs and text instructions below, a forum, picture gallery, news article area, and possibly a blog are other possibilities. A site I really like the lay out and graphics of is http://www.pirate4x4.com/

My first strategy was to research and buy a software for building websites. However, I found that many web host offer free tools to build websites. I played with different hosting service tools for weeks. The only one that slightly impressive me was Wix and their flash based building tool. While it was nice I feel it had limitations. I may would of went this route but I read 100's of complaints about bad hosting service. Upon more research I subscribed to a 2-year blue host hosting plan and bought a URL. I read and heard lots of good things about Wordpress so I installed it. After playing with it for a week I uninstalled it and installed Drupal. I played with it for a week before researching and finding out that these are CMS not web building apps. I later played with Weebly, I was able to make webpages but they are basic, far less quality than Wix's flash builder offered.

I reinstalled Wordpress however I now realize I made a circle. I believe I just need a little guidance.

1. Where do I start? With a CMS or with an HTML or Flash based website building software?
I prefer something like the old Geocities Page, however, I don't care to be restricted to layouts and templates.
2. How about graphics and backgrounds? Should I have pictures, logos, and graphics as my first step?
3. If you had to guess what do you think was used to build the site http://www.pirate4x4.com/ from start to finish including the graphics, CMS(or does it even have one), and other tools used to build the site?

Thanks for you time I greatly appreciate your response.

Megan's picture

She has: 11,421 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

Hello exoticwelding,

Welcome to the forums, and welcome back to web design!

Where to start really depends on what you're trying to do. These days most websites are dynamic. That is, they contain structured content that changes frequently over time. This content may be re-purposed in different areas of the site (e.g. your idea of having one page with a list of links to articles on separate pages). CMS's are built for handling this kind of content. A CMS could, for example, automatically generate your list of links, including excerpts of a certain length, images, or whatever else you want to show.

I'm really not sure what some of these other web-based site building tools do. I'm assuming they work much like the old Geocities tools, or Dreamweaver would. You build static pages within a template. There's no way to automatically generate a list of links to certain content - you have to build that all by hand. This could be useful if that's what you want.

A CMS really is a web-building app. It just works in a bit of a different way. Most websites these days are built with some sort of CMS or custom content management tool.

From your description it sounds like you need something more dynamic. You want different types of content - your "how to's", a forum, a picture gallery, and a news article area. You probably don't want to build all of that by hand with static pages. Wordpress is primarily designed for blogs, which is not exactly what you need.

Drupal, on the other hand, could be a good fit. This site operates on Drupal, and we happen to know a lot about it. It does take awhile to get your head around it, but you could start slow with a simple theme (design), and one or two "content types".

Please post back if you have any more questions, or would like some direction on getting started with Drupal.

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