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Topic: Making my own website...advice? (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


Right now I'm using basic html and a text editor to make a basic website to hold my DIY project chronicals, articles, and images. The goal is a simple website with text, clickable picture thumbnails that open up to large size images, and basically links around. I don't want anything fancy, but I don't want it to look dated or crude either. I eventually want to add a Google or Paypal checkout.

The thing is, I don't know if I'm making a mistake here as I literally just view the page source of other websites to learn how to do things--I don't want to make a lot of progress and then realize that I should have started out using flash or CSS or something fancy that I don't even know of, because my site doesn't work well on certain browsers or on iPhones or whatever. What do you think? What tools should I learn and use? What kind of pitfalls am I heading towards?

In the meantime, I'm not sure how I should structure the files that my website is made out of. I have an index.html file and all the rest of the page files all sitting in the same directory. I have a folder in that directory that all my images are in. I think the stoneage thing to do is use ImageMagik to create a bunch of thumbnails, and make it so when you click the thumbnail image you go to a page with nothing but the large version. I want to keep it all sorted though. I don't know if I should make a separate thumbnail directory in the same folder with the html files, or make it a subdirectory of the images folder, or what.


Feb 12, 2010, 12:58 am Last Edit: Feb 12, 2010, 01:00 am by Osgeld Reason: 1
for my stuff, man its been years since i even thought about html as the site

I would look into a easy modular cms system, as long as your host can deal with it (ie php or asp + a database) such as impresscms, phpnuke etc

here is a site that has pretty much every one installed so you can try them out and mess around a little in the admin side



Feb 12, 2010, 01:44 am Last Edit: Feb 12, 2010, 01:45 am by floresta Reason: 1

You might want to check this out:



Feb 12, 2010, 07:22 am Last Edit: Feb 12, 2010, 07:48 am by silvercg Reason: 1
I've been doing this for many years. and done a few projects for companies.

for starters learn html until it is embedded into your brain. then start to work with CSS.

coding a website is nice and fun but will soon become more work than it's worth with out using a CMS (content management system) (i.e. wordpress, joomla, drupal)

the easiest get the hang off is wordpress, but is limited to a blog type atmosphere. if you want to open it up with a shopping cart of some form then joomla would be the way to go, but will have a bit of a learning curve to it.

so get the basics of html and css down these will be valuable for the future, then start playing with php and mysql.

this should give you a good starting point



Feb 12, 2010, 09:05 am Last Edit: Feb 12, 2010, 09:12 am by koyaanisqatsi Reason: 1
I use Wordpress (http://wordpress.org/) on my site (http://www.chesterfamily.org) as of a few weeks ago, and I love it.  Prior to that I had created my own HTML/CSS page template "system" and it worked well for up to about 15-20 pages.  It had been running like that since about 2001, I think.  It probably could have gone to 25-30 pages but I needed more flexibility and didn't want to write it myself.

Gallery (http://gallery.menalto.com/) is good for pictures and videos.  Both require PHP and a MySQL database.  (You may be able to ask your hosting provider to install them for you)  Wordpress and Gallery will integrate for a uniform look/feel.  There's also a few different shopping carts that plug into Wordpress.  I'm messing with zencart right now but haven't figured it out yet.

If you want to learn to design and create pages from scratch, I can send you the template stuff I used.  But if you just want a good site without spending too much time creating it, I suggest a CMS like Wordpress. You'll spend time on content rather than design.  Wordpress takes about an hour to install and set up.  Gallery takes a little longer.  Plug-ins and templates are all very fast and easy.

[edit]See the old template stuff here: http://www.chesterfamily.org/old/[/edit]


I use Umbraco (except for my own site, whic is not yet Umbraco based), it is a very good free, open source CMS, with a large installed base, and a very active community / forum.

But i does require the use of some XSLT coding.

And as far as CSS goes, i think that is something that you should leran, it makes life so much easier, and it is really not very difficult.

The Umbraco forum is a lot like the Arduino forum, very active, very friendly and very helpfull. lot's of people who don't know too much, a group of seriously hardcore web sharks who will go out of their way to help beginners.




Drupal is far more developer-friendly than Mambo/Joomla.

Important: http://validator.w3.org/ is your friend. Learn to put as little formatting into your HTML as possible: never use <font>, use classes where you're repeating the same formatting over and over, and use headings (h1.. h6) when what you're formatting is or should be a heading.

Oh, and don't forget your doctype.


I've become a big wordpress advocate as of late. I used to handcode all my sites, and while it can be fun to create something new, there's a lot to be said for having a developed product that has a lot of support on it's side. I highly recommend you go with a CMS. Like I said, I'm big on Wordpress, but many CMS' out there will work just fine.

For what you're doing, I'd setup Wordpress and grab the FancyZoom plugin. It's a good combination.


wordpress is great if your just doing a blog style page, Its when your wife starts asking for features that dont exist in that world you get into trouble (but its a fairly easy system to hack other stuff into)

speaking of which, I hope she isnt looking

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