Advice on HTML/CSS and extendability

HI all,
being new to this site i’m seeking some general advice. I’m building a small business website for a friend, and having not done anything other than a simple HTML/CSS website a few years ago, i started researching and ended up moving down the joomla and eventually wordpress path (seduced by themes, plugins etc…). To this end i got frustrated with the lack of flexibility as i have some firm ideas on design and general look and feel of the site and couldnt get it to work like i wanted it t’

So, having found this wonderful forum and read through the advice i think i’m back to HTML & CSS and coding with nodepadd ++ or similar, and generating my own graphics (which i’m quite comfortable with)

Initially this site will be a largely static, small business site for non-computer literate clients, and i’ll keep it nice and clean.

Eventually, when there’s enough content then they’d like image gallery features such as a gallery page and probably a small slideshow on the front page, but at this stage we dont have quality photos to support this. They also would like a members login page where there’s some specific content and doc’s for download. Mobile device compatability is also desireable. I dont see any need for blogging type functionality or a CMS as the content will not change frequently

Now my question… is it easy to build gallery and login type of functionality into the HTML/CSS path for someone who understands the basics or does it get difficult really quickly??

Hi ihammy. Welcome to the forums. :slight_smile:

The image gallery bit is very easy (though you may need a bit of JavaScript, but you can easily use what’s already been written). It’s not hard to password protect a section of a site, either. Assuming that you will be uploading the content to that password protected section, then this is easy to do as a static site with HTML and CSS. It still may be worth using a CMS, though, as it sounds like the site will grow. I don’t find many people these days who don’t want to edit their own content.

There are much better CMSes out there than WordPress. All the same, you can exercise full control over a WP page, even if you have to do a bit of digging into the code. :slight_smile:

Thanks Ralph. That gives me some confidence of I go the HTML and CSS path. I’m reasonable at reading code, so with some direction it sounds like I may be able to copy and paste bits and pieces to get what I want. I do like the idea of a set of files that I know exactly what is doing what, and that’s where stuff like wordpress gets frustrating

I’ll talk to the client again and double check their requirements on content. It could be that they may want to easily add stuff themselves in the future

BTW you say there are better CMS’s. I’ve researched drupal, joomla and wordpress. Are there any others worth considering? I’d forgo a rich library of templates for some design flexibility

I would suggest looking at something like ExpressionEngine. That’s my CMS of choice, but is does have a price tag on it. It leaves all of the design and templating up to you, providing you with a blank sheet to work on, so you do all your own CSS and HTML etc without any interference. It’s really lovely.

But for small sites that just need a bit of editing here and there, I’d recommend Perch. It’s also beautifully designed and supported.

If you are looking for something similar to ExpressionEngine but without the price tag, try MODx. It also doesn’t interfere with your HTML and CSS.

Thanks. I had a quick look at perch and it looks really nice and also seems that I can use it with an existing site later on which is good. The pricerange is sub $100 for software btw. I’ll check out the others too.

My main concern is to not burn too many hours in the wrong direction (although I’ll obviously be burning hours learning still!)

I’d have recommended the exact same CMSes as Ralph has. Those three are my favourite CMSes as well and I use ExpressionEngine for my own sites.

From what you have described, however, ExpressionEngine could be overkill. The learning curve is not as low as it is for, say, WordPress or Joomla. The flexibility, on the other hand, is nearly unmatched, particularly for larger sites.


If you have struggled with Joomla then take a look at CodeIgniter which is now a mature PHP Application Framework. The learning curve for beginners is not too steep and has a really helpful forum.

Well I thought that I’d start at the easy end and started messing around with Weebly as it’s so easy to mock up a site.

I thought that id use this to firm up the site design and them save off the code to use standalone and hosted somewhere else. But at this stage I’m impressed enough to maybe purchase the Pro licence at a whopping $5/month which gives me hosting and let’s me remove the weebly advertising. I think can use my own domain too.

What I like is that luckily, firstly some of the templates have been very suitable, but then you can edit the HTML and CSS and retain your own custom template. Gallery, slideshows etc are just drag and drop and the site is automatically mobile friendly

I realize for those depending on some ad revenue that weebly takes a % but for a small business kust looking for a web presence it seems a no brainer!