Choosing the platform (as a whole)

Greetings community,

Decided to start my own small site. Easy to say, but then come the questions of the right approach… and that blocks me. Already :).
I like to research and study, problem is I need some pointers, in order to choose the right direction. Hopefully you guys can help.

Site’s purpose is creation of digital content (downloadable). Main areas:
Home page, a blog, a forum for discussions, and the shop, where one could not only buy but also publish/sell, if one wishes.

Any suggestions for the platforms to use ? Or any counter suggestions (meaning not choosing a platform that could limit later development) ?
My current orientation would be : Wordpress for the blog + SMF for the forums + <insert shop platform here>

Some questions:
Should/could WP be the CMS of all this ? or should I use it only for the blog ? In which case, what else for site’s CMS ?
Do you guys know some suggestion about a “app market like platform” ? (submit content, download, purchase, rate, comment) Or such a thing does not exist pre-built, and has to be specifically developed ?

Thank you in advance :).

PS: side-question - what engine does this forum uses ? I like how it looks :).

Hi inthefog, and welcome to the forums. :slight_smile:

I have no direct experience of what you’re trying to achieve, but no doubt others will be able to chip in. Meanwhile (because it tends to be quite quiet around here at weekends) you might like to have a look at this post: It gives you a range of different e-commerce options to explore (you did say you like to research ;)), including a couple of WordPress plugins.

Off Topic:

The forums here currently run on vBulletin, but we’re in the process of migrating to Discourse. Once we make the move, they’ll look rather different. :slight_smile:

Hi Technological Bear,

Thank you for the link, I forgot to mention that I have visited it, after seeing your suggestion on a similar thread :).
Also worth mentioning that I am only aware of the link for the moment, 'cause all the platforms listed there will require some digest time :D.

Indeed. That will keep you occupied while you wait for somebody with some relevant experience to reply. :lol:

Hey guys,
The more you read… the more complicated it gets :D. So if anyone with more knowledge could share a few ideas… :). Thanks.

Nobody else can say what you need. Only you are able to know that (or at least make a scientific best guess).

What did you not understand and find confusing?

Ok, let’s start simple :).

Is there any counter-advice on using WP as the main CMS ? (on my personal taste & knowledge I like it and I’d like to use it)
Or are Drupal or Joomla a better choice ?

(this keeping in my mind my future evolutions planned : forum, market/downloads area)

Opinions vary, but I think WordPress can be great as a blog CMS.

Over the years it has started to grow into more, and there are a lot of plugins that can help bang it into more than a blog. But that’s what you would be doing - banging it into something more. At some point the amount of work put into maintaining it would begin to pain you. i.e. as the site grew, got more traffic, and more features are added, you would most likely wish you had gone with something different, but maybe not. Many say they are happy using WordPress and that they run successful sites, but I don’t remember any ever saying how much time and / or money they put into keeping things going.

Other CMS’s are better suited for something more “enterprise” - but - they either cost money and/or have a steep learning curve and “tech support” varies.

IMHO the key to making a good choice is to figure out what you “must have to start” and what you “might need in the future” and how much money and time you’re willing to put into the effort.

If you post a list of your “must haves” others will be better able to make suggestions.

Thank you for the “help me help you” approach, I’m more than willing to give any sort of input as long as someone is willing to share his/her knowledge.

Before answering your last question, I’ll post another one: If I understood correctly, there is always a db created when running a blog, a forum, etc. So, supposing I start with WP now, and along the way I realize that it wasn’t the best choice; Could I migrate to another platform at that time ?

Coming back to the “must have” list; What kind of features do I need to speak about ? I’ll start with the basic, and maybe we can detail it along the way.

BLOG (=front page, latest posts will be listed here)
FORUM (don’t know yet what engine… I’d like XenForo type, but I can’t afford it for now)
MARKET (DOWNLOAD AREA) – ideally, just like an app market

  • Registered users only will be able to use it
  • Some items will be free, some items will cost
  • People can rate and comment items
  • NOTE: even if the market area will maybe not be useful at the beginning, I’d like to have it up as fast as possible, to be able to test and develop it gradually

And lastly, about investment
Time : most of my free time, so evenings and weekends. And there’s no limitation as “neah, I don’t feel like doing it”. I am willing to invest time and energy, to see things progress
Money: I don’t have a clear idea about how this could turn out, so I’ll say “keeping the initial investment at minimum, and invest when needed, along the way”.

Hope this is a good start. Thank you.

So… I take it it’s not enough information that I’ve provided ? Or not many people around ? Or… am I doing something wrong ? :shifty:

I played around with a Wordpress shop and didn’t like it too much. It was ok but I wanted something where I felt that I had more control. I’m not the most technical guy so making things easy to run my store helps.

I tried out a shopping platform called Lemonstand and so far have no complaints. It has a CMS that is pretty decent and easy to use. One of the issues that I was facing was finding a nice looking Wordpress theme that was responsive design. All of Lemonstand’s themes are responsive so it made it easy to pick one that I liked and customize it to the way that I liked it.

I can also add multiple photos of my products and extra custom fields. A friend of mine uses Shopify for her store and I found playing around with Shopify that you’re limited by categories and how many custom fields you want to enter. With my store I wanted to have custom fields so I can add more information for the products and checkout. Lemonstand let’s me do that.

I would definitely recommend checking them out, no complaints from me so far.

Hello Chant,
That actually looks like a neat platform, tbh. Clean look, solid.
I couldn’t see exactly if it can manage digital content though. In any case, I’ll just keep it on my candidate list for the moment, as it seems more appropriate for a well established business than for a shy startup like mine.

Thank you for you suggestion.

I use WordPress for about 30 of my websites and about 200 client websites but, y’know, I gotta say I’m a convert to a different way of doing things now. You might consider looking at Premium Web Cart (again). They’ve added so much functionality over the past two years, it’s really pretty incredible. Imagine having your blog software, your website + hosting, shopping cart, AND CRM to maintain your leads and customer history, autoresps, membership and even project management all in one integrated system…without worrying about SSL renewals and PCI Compliance. Did I really just say all that in one sentence?

Anyway, just sayin’ I think all that mishmash of a bunch of pieces and parts is starting to lose its flavor. There are options out there and they don’t all have to be $10K Netsuite options.