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Advice on How to Properly Setup an Expandable Website? (Designing Phase)


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JamesMusslewhite

   I have wanted to setup a website site for years, but decided to wait until the time was ready. The forum will be focused on topics of Farm & Garden, aquaponics, hydroponics, aquaculture, mariculture, lobster production, husbandry, vermiculture, and organics just to name a few topics I plan to cover. I recently secured the domain name www.pinoyaquaculture.com. I know how to code basic HTML but I am sure that I will need to study newer versions of HTML as well as other software to accomplish what I invasion on building.  

   I now know that I must look for a decent hosting site.  That I will require a basic startup package, but it must be expandable and be capable of handling all the bells and whistles that will be needed as the website grows.

   On the main website page I will be posting my own articles which will require the written worlds as well the accompanying drawings, diagrams pics, photos and videos; which is pretty basic. What perhaps it more complex is I also want to add a duel language forum section (both English and Pinoy) which will require a quality translator program for both of those forum sections.

   I also want a ‘bulletin board’ where subscribers can post topic related goods and services. For several years back I started a Facebook Farm & Garden Group which has grown to over 19,000 members. I always allowed members to promote their goods and services and advertise real properties which were farm and agricultural related. But Facebook groups are single column and as such information is quickly buried as new posts are added. This is where I see a Forum style layout would be far better and beneficial to subscribes and lurkers alike, as it would allow views more ease at following long topics.    

   I am there is a large section of forum members who are for more versed on the technologies, software and website related subjects than I am. This is why I decided to start this thread. What is needed? How best to layout and setup such a site? What are sites best avoided? What sites allow more bang for the buck? Which would allow future e-commerce if I were to later promote my own products? How to later build a monthly forum magazine or newsletter which can be integrated into the website?     

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James - have you looked at GoDaddy.com? Not only do they have the tools and services, they also have an “askable” community and “library” of information. I suspect there are many people there who

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Paddy

James - have you looked at GoDaddy.com?

Not only do they have the tools and services, they also have an “askable” community and “library” of information. I suspect there are many people there who have already done sites similar to what you’re looking to do (not specific topic but similar functionality).

There are other companies out there with similar services. 

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Soupeod
3 hours ago, Paddy said:

James - have you looked at GoDaddy.com?

Not only do they have the tools and services, they also have an “askable” community and “library” of information. I suspect there are many people there who have already done sites similar to what you’re looking to do (not specific topic but similar functionality).

There are other companies out there with similar services. 

I agree with Paddy, good advice.

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Salty Dog

Try WIX.com. You can setup a free site with some limitations. If you decide you like them, you can usually get one of the paid options for half price.

Wix offers a drag-and-drop website builder to create a site. It runs in your web browser (no need to install any software) and already provides its own web hosting. You sign up, select a template design, and start creating. It doesn’t require any advanced technical skills such as HTML. Once you get comfortable with it, you can switch from their guided designing to a more robust editor that will allow you to do most anything you want.

I'm not sure what all the WIX free site builder offers. I have a paid site that includes a free domain, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email marketing, invoice and online payments, logo design, and other things...

While you're looking around, check this site out: Review and Compare Website Builders, How to Build a Website

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For hosting blue host and ipage are low priced and offer good service.

As far as expandable that’s in your code. I’d recommend not using Wordpress or Wix. They’re limited. If you write the code or have it written it’s much more flexible. You can get plugin libraries for some of the components you want, like a bulletin board. 

Source code would include html, css, JavaScript, jquery (optional), and probably PHP (also optional). And a database like MySQL. PHP is a good way to link the front end (html) to the stored data in the database; but there’s other ways. 

It’s a big undertaking if you only know html. Maybe worth contracting it out initially to get it running and then you could maintain it. 

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JamesMusslewhite

   I have started researching the top web hosting sites so I can try to learn which will be able to best provide all the bells and whistles I will need to build the site I envision.  Now I know this will sound funny and I will get a lot of eye rolls and a lot of sure..... But let me first explain my reasoning as it was told to me by a webmaster several years back. We were talking and I told him that I was thinking of building a website. I wanted a Main page that was unique (not a template) with a subject related related artwork header and perhaps a slideshow showing more interesting topics. That I will be posting my own articles which will require photos, diagrams and video. That I wanted a bulletin board which allowed the posting of photos and possibly videos so viewers could post goods and services. That I wanted a forum section. And I wanted to later use the site to perhaps sell my own goods and services. He asked me what I wanted it to look like? I told him that I really was not sure and that most websites that I looked at generally did not do all of that. Or they were too simply so boring to view I felt people would quickly just leave the website. 

   Without even blinking he said start looking at p*orn sites!

   When he explained it made total sense. Those sites are no numerous that they know they only have a few seconds to hold your attention. The layouts must be simple to navigate. The artwork can not be cluttered with cheesy banners and spinning logos. Have a classy look, put it right in their face and make it easy to open the door and step right in. The sites are all about getting the money out of your pocket so they all have payment features, which will allow me to see their buttons and where they are best to locate. A lot of subliminal research has been spent to determine what works best and what works fast.  As far as forums he said much the same, and over the years I have joined and used a lots of different foruns. I have also been a Mod on a few so I have a little experience with moderation tools.

   I have some limited experience with website administration tools. I have held an account on www.freeservers.com where I played around with basic HTML coding and a few limited amount of coding to start a blog, but as I have no desire to add a blog to the site. Now I will start studying HTML5 and CSS coding and I see there are plenty of beginner YouTube videos on those subjects.

    My son will be helping be build the site. I do not know what codes and level of coding he possess, but I know that he has been playing around with game design coding. He has worked on a game he designed, and is presently working on a comic he created on a platform Stan Lee and some Korean company. So I figure he will be helpful helping me design and build the website and the artwork involved.

 

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JamesMusslewhite
On 4/18/2019 at 12:50 PM, Paddy said:

James - have you looked at GoDaddy.com?

Not only do they have the tools and services, they also have an “askable” community and “library” of information. I suspect there are many people there who have already done sites similar to what you’re looking to do (not specific topic but similar functionality).

There are other companies out there with similar services. 

  Yes I have been trying to research the more known web hosting sites. I have read that is a decent site for beginners to start basic sites willing to use templates. The issue for me is I want to build my site from the ground up and I have read were experienced web designers get really frustrated with Go.Daddy tech support and complications they have with other coding I may be using. I do not want to have to transfer to a new host site in mid-stream. I also remember Paul eventually became so frustrated that he moved this forum from GoDaddy to another site. I do a benefit in reading their forum though to learn of conflict issues with certain software I may be using. I am not excluding GoDaddy, but I want to first look at all my available options before deciding which one to choose.

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Goetz1965

I was webmaster of my own websites for about 20 years, so I know all the problems you will encounter over time.

"That I will require a basic startup package, but it must be expandable and be capable of handling all the bells and whistles that will be needed as the website grows."

And there it is the first MAJOR Problem that you will run into.
Usually after a short while you want to have things that the website package just doesn't offer - and then WHAT ?
If you NEED that functionality you are LOST - because you can't just transfer all your data to a different hoster.

If you are lucky you just need to PAY MORE and avail a better package for your website kit - but then still - can and WILL you afford it ?

Making a website always sounds nice and easy.
And yes there's so many, so beautiful websites around - looking stunning and having so many great features.

BUT what you don't see is - most of those websites are BOUGHT and(or individually (sometimes highly) programmed a lot - even if they don't state the information about that !

My advice to you can only be - start with a FREE package and take 1-2 month to see how it works out
In those 2 month you will notice the things the website package you have CAN DO and more important what it CANT DO.

Then you start making a list - what features YOU NEED - and then you start asking your hoster "Is this available" - and also look for other website kits and hosters that maybe offer what you need.

And yes, that means you have to start all new from scratch on a new package with a new hoster - and again for 1-2 month you play around and find all the thing you NEED BUT CANT DO.

That way I can only tell you - having your own website is NEVER a "Fire up and forget" thing.
I was lucky when I didn't need to touch my websites for 1 year - but there were always updates to do or new things to implement.
And be sure - you WILL want to make your website bigger and better over time - and that's when the Sh*** starts hitting the fan always.
 
 

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Goetz1965

Cant edit my posting so I have to add it this way ...

I was in the electronic music scene, so that wasn't mainstream and thus had only "limited" visitors. 
If your website just is a niche like mine then you don't need to look at all the mainstream necessities - but you also will be limited on amount of visitors - and that means you can be happy if you get your cost back with advertising.
But with a niche website that doesn't attract millions of visitors each month - you won't earn money ! 

 
As you say you want to build your website up from scratch - ok then you need at least 1-2 years learning programming.

Or you choose a opensource like JOOMLA or WORDPRESS where you can edit everything yourself.
But then - why the F**** do they have to always update that Open Source Software with bug fixes that WILL cripple your own edited work ? That way you end up becoming a webmaster and Admin - BEFORE you even start publishing anything !
And DONT THINK your son will happily be there until end of days to support your website ... He will have fun for a while and then ... Poofff ... You are on your own and realize you have no clue what is going on with that server and all that code ...

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JamesMusslewhite
On 4/18/2019 at 8:40 PM, Rwtom said:

For hosting blue host and ipage are low priced and offer good service.

As far as expandable that’s in your code. I’d recommend not using Wordpress or Wix. They’re limited. If you write the code or have it written it’s much more flexible. You can get plugin libraries for some of the components you want, like a bulletin board. 

Source code would include html, css, JavaScript, jquery (optional), and probably PHP (also optional). And a database like MySQL. PHP is a good way to link the front end (html) to the stored data in the database; but there’s other ways. 

It’s a big undertaking if you only know html. Maybe worth contracting it out initially to get it running and then you could maintain it. 

I see that Blue Host ranks well as to forum hosting using

 

7 minutes ago, Goetz1965 said:

I was webmaster of my own websites for about 20 years, so I know all the problems you will encounter over time.

"That I will require a basic startup package, but it must be expandable and be capable of handling all the bells and whistles that will be needed as the website grows."

And there it is the first MAYOR Problem that you will run into.
Usually afer a short while you want to have things that the website package just doesnt offer - and then WHAT ?
If you NEED that funtionality you are LOST - because you cant just transfer all your data to a different hoster.

If you are lucky you just need to PAY MORE and avail a better package for your website kit - but then still - can and WILL you afford it ?

Making a website always sounds nice and easy.
And yes theres so many, so beautifull websites around - looking stunning and having so many great features.

BUT what you don't see is - most of those websites are BOUGHT and(or individually (sometimes highly) programmed a lot - even if they don't state the information about that !

My advice to you can only be - start with a FREE package and take 1-2 month to see how it works out
In those 2 month you will notice the things the website package you have CAN DO and more important what it CANT DO.

Then you start making a list - what features YOU NEED - and then you start asking your hoster "Is this available" - and also look for other website kits and hosters that maybe offer what you need.

And yes, that means you have to start all new from scratch on a new package with a new hoster - and again for 1-2 month you play around and find all the thing you NEED BUT CANT DO.

That way I can only tell you - having your own website is NEVER a "Fire up and forget" thing.
I was lucky when I didn't need to touch my websites for 1 year - but there were always updates to do or new things to implement.
And be sure - you WILL want to make your website bigger and better over time - and thats when the Sh*** starts hitting the fan always.
 
 

I was looking at Blue Host as it rates rather well as both a website host and as a forum host. I have a question as I assume the website and the forum must each have it's own hosting package. But will they require a different domain name, or will they both link to the www.pinoyaquaculture.com domain?

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Woolf

Is that the domain name you want to use ???

If so  it is a bad idea to publish it, before you own the domain name, someone could register it  and you would have to buy it from that person 

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JamesMusslewhite
5 minutes ago, Woolf said:

Is that the domain name you want to use ???

If so  it is a bad idea to publish it, before you own the domain name, someone could register it  and you would have to buy it from that person 

I already have the domain name secured, paid for a year and set with auto-renewal. I had earlier posted the name on a Facebook Page but kept the site quite, as I feared someone would try to take it from under me. Once I knew it was secured was when I decided to start posting the name in a public forum. I had heard of domain piracy happening to others. Some host sites were taking domain names searched on their sites and then increasing their prices.

 

 

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Any web site is expandable, but anyway. In any project get your requirement (functional and non functional). This, mostly I see you have done, maybe not all but most.

Nowaday, any CMS has modern clean looking themes, navigation and most importantly easy content management (at the end your site is about content and how your users can intertact with, upload content, leave comments, blog etc. and of course integrate with social media and you want to concentrate on content not "building" the website). I recommend following :

1. Choose a CMS that will fit your needs

2. Then choose a hosting company that has the CMS you want.

 

1. There are tons of CMS that will fulfill your needs (sometimes it seems you want an EMS....). You can choose wordpress, drupal, joomla and, and, etc or even liferay (if you want to go really deep). Here, as well you might consider some non-functional requirements, such as in which programming languages you have skills, in case you want to customize. wordpress or drupal is good if you have PHP, liferay java etc.). Any top CMS integrates with social media etc. I would say any of these cover your requirements 100%, but if it does not and one day you hit the wall, remember a website is not a monolith and has several modules - in such case just custom built the particular page (of course with same layout etc., but that is easy anyway nowaday with CSS). No big website is one technology. They are built with several tools and modules (it might look to the user as one, but each section of the site is fulfilled with the best tool it suits the purpose). Scalability is not a problem, unless you are a facebook, amazon or youtube or like you said a big adult website - then well....but I do not think an aqcuaculture website will run into this problem (no disprespect).

If you want total control then you really need to go a deeper into your pockets....

2. All the major CMS will be offered by one or more hoster as SaaS. So here you do not need to worry about the underlying platform needed (like database, OS, application server etc , it is all provided for you and you pay as you scale up...networking and processing power, storage). Of course if you choose not to go this way or want more control (or exotic CMS), you have to take care of the platform elements yourself (database, the application server the CMS runs on....good luck installing and configuring it...otherwise look for PaaS provider that has these installed). More control? Then go for IaaS, but then you need to install everything...and it will cost...then you have your blades and network....I do no think you want to go there) 

If I were you I would go for drupal or wordpress (if you have PHP skills - drupal is written on symphony - a nice CRUD framework), make a nice modern layout (you need to spend some money as the best themes costs money) and make it easy to upload and manage content, integrate your users (in the website and facebook, even via SSO, which is what you have to look for), good communication features (notify, updates etc.) , easy upload for users and user areas (liek blog) and then concentrate on what you like - aqcuaculture.

Cheers

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JamesMusslewhite
1 hour ago, Goetz1965 said:

Cant edit my posting so I have to add it this way ...

I was in the electronic music szene, so that wasnt mainstream and thus had only "limited" visitors. 
If your website just is a niche like mine then you don't need to look at all the mainstream necessities - but you also will be limited on amount of visitors - and that means you can be happy if you get your cost back with advertising.
But with a niche website that doesnt attract millions of viitors each month - you won't earn money ! 

 
As you say you want to build your website up from scratch - ok then you need at least 1-2 years learning programming.

Or you choose a opensource like JOOMLA or WORDPRESS where you can edit everything yourself.
But then - why the F**** do they have to always update that OpenSource Sofware with bugfixes that WILL cripple your own edited work ? That way you end up becoming a webmaster and Admin - BEFORE you even start publishing anything !
And DONT THINK your son will happily be there until end of days to support your website ... He will have fun for a while and then ... Poofff ... You are on your own and realize you ave no clue what is going on with that server and all that code ...

    I plan on quickly beginning learning the needed coding. I realize that have only played with basic HTML in the past. I assume I will need to seriously study the basics of HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript and perhaps phpBB. Then continue learning as project moves forward. I have no delusions that this will be somehow an easy task to accomplish.

    I never expect any monetizing from the site through traffic generation.  But I do expect the forum section to grow rather quickly. The website is to primary be used to post articles and to direst-market several different products I will be producing on our farm and through aquacultural projects. The forum section is primary for me to discuss various topics that I either have an interest or specialize. I will be posting videos and personal writing, as well as Q&A and education purposes. I am quite sure that my writings and videos will result in regular request to do consulting work,  Even without a website or self promotion I have been asked to due some out of country consulting work. Consulting can potentially be very lucrative. At the time I refused the gigs as I was not ready at the time. Once the site is really up and running I just want to try to keep my yearly hosting and site costs to stay under $2k a year. The bulletin board will be use primarily as a networking vehicle allowing members to post goods and services relating to the topics I cover.  If it grows larger than that I will be as surprised as I would be proud. 

    I have no delusions or grandiose expectations. But I do expect that it will become an evergrowing depository of videos, photos, drawings, diagrams and written works which will require a growing storage capacity. This is what I meant when I said in above posts ''As this site Grows''. I never expect the site membership to ever exceed 50,000 members combined even a decade from now. But food production is a huge worldwide industry so one can never tell.  But today is merely the first step of what I hope will be many.   

 

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