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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast Skyview's Avatar
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    Online "community" for a real community?

    Hi. I see there is a great deal of talent and experience in the forums here, so I would like to get your opinions on what best approach to use for starting up a "community" based website for a neighborhood community. My wife and I just moved into a new community and I thought it would be nice to start up a neighborhood website for events, services, local stuff, and general neighborhood news, etc. I've been wondering if using a cms like Joomla or phpWebsite would be the best way to go or if most people who start neighborhood websites just code them? I only have experience with the two listed above, but I'd like to find something that has a calendar built in that allows not only creating events but allows for people to signup/rsvp for events, etc. If you know of any "neighborhood" websites that I could check out for ideas I would appreciate it, as well as any suggestions you may have. Thanks.

    David

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist GTAce's Avatar
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    A "neighborhood" or a local site?

    Neighborhood being a subdivision...houses and what not...local being a town or a city

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast Skyview's Avatar
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    Yes, a "Neighborhood" i.e. subdivision.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    It depends what you want your site to do... is it just a place for calendar postings/news? Do you think a forum is needed/wanted? Chat? Do you want anyone to be able to submit or post news and events, etc?

    vB with vBAdvanced might work for you, depending on what you need.
    Josh is an anomaly
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    Organization is the
    death of creativity.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist GTAce's Avatar
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    I dont see the need for a forum either. Is this a sign of our times? Now, instead of sending out mail or having dinner together to set up events with our neighbors, we are logging online and chatting in forums instead?

    I'm not exactly sure what your plans are for this or how big the neighborhood is....but I would imagine a website with news, events, and a calendar would be more than sufficient. Just find a solid CMS which allows for comments and what now - that way you also have the discussion aspect of it.

    Also - have you discussed this idea with the neighborhood as a whole? I just can't picture a single neighborhood having enough interest in this.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    There are developments in populated areas that are huge. My uncle lived in a development in Pennsylvania a few years back that I think was large enough to warrant its own school district. So certainly some large neighborhoods could have a need for such a localized community site.
    Josh is an anomaly
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    Organization is the
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist GTAce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys
    There are developments in populated areas that are huge. My uncle lived in a development in Pennsylvania a few years back that I think was large enough to warrant its own school district.
    Was it this one? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levittown%2C_Pennsylvania

    haha, that just struck me as funny because I'm studying for finals right now, and that is one of the topics we covered. There might be neighborhoods out there that large, but I doubt that is what we are dealing with here...I live 30 minutes from Atlanta and I've never really run into any neighborhoods around here that I thought would be populated enough to sustain forums

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Close, it was in Bucks County. I think it was Newtown Grant.
    Josh is an anomaly
    rails & work & twitter

    Organization is the
    death of creativity.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast Skyview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys
    It depends what you want your site to do... is it just a place for calendar postings/news? Do you think a forum is needed/wanted? Chat? Do you want anyone to be able to submit or post news and events, etc?

    vB with vBAdvanced might work for you, depending on what you need.
    Here were some ideas I had thought of possibly including:

    Local News
    Weather
    Links
    Forum
    Events (parties, holiday events, sport&game tournaments, etc.)
    Calendar, List of community resources (tutoring, pet sitting, etc.)
    Yard/garage sales
    Celebrations (Births, Engagements, Weddings, Anniversaries)
    Community Services (contacts for util, phone, gas, cable, garbage, etc.)

    No, it's not a huge neighborhood, and I wouldn't be looking to make anything off of it, just a nice thing to do. Therefore, if the forum didn't have hundreds or thousands of posts that's fine. Also, I'd probably want to go with something free (or at least cheaper than VB). I guess there just hasn't been that many who have used CMS's to setup neighborhood sites?

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict sportslitter's Avatar
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    you can make a free forum with phpbb. I have a city forum. Not really what you're talking about because its for 1 million + people, not just 1 neighborhood.

    My parents live in a contry club with 700 houses and there's a website for it.. so your site could definetly work. And if you aren't expecting tons of hits and making money then do whatever makes you happy.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast Skyview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportslitter
    you can make a free forum with phpbb. I have a city forum. Not really what you're talking about because its for 1 million + people, not just 1 neighborhood.

    My parents live in a contry club with 700 houses and there's a website for it.. so your site could definetly work. And if you aren't expecting tons of hits and making money then do whatever makes you happy.
    Does the country club site use a CMS of some kind? Well, I wouldn't really be looking to make any money off of the site except for maybe some adsense ads at the bottom or something. I'm really not experienced with phpbb, although it's somewhat similar to SMF which I do have experience with in that it's PHP and MySQL based. SMF or phpbb won't get me what I'm looking for alone, that's why I was curious about CMS usage for this type of site. Thanks.

    David

  12. #12
    "Trust Me." gladding's Avatar
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    community forums

    chances are high a local realtor has already done it or is in the process of doing it. However they almost always fail because they rely on a "website in a box" and don't put any time in to maintaining the site. They want overnight success that drives money without effort.

    I have a local forum (in my sig below) that covers the whole city and all the neighborhoods in it... my biggest piece of advice is to start small and with a niche, and keep it maintained regularly. If you plan on the community running it for you, don't even waste your time or energy on it, for it will fail. How you create it (what software) doesn't matter as much as the intent of work you are going to put in it.

    It can succeed and make money if you get decent traffic after a while. Just keep in mind that the success takes time. Good lucK!


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