PHP database or CMS for my site

I was directed here from another part of the forum, where I asked about ways to generate content for my website automatically, without having to write it by hand. To be more specific, I run a dog adoption website, where different dogs from across the states are listed who need rescue/adoption. The main adoption page consists of a table with the animals listed vertically, including a picture, their vital stats, and temperament description. Clicking an animals picture brings up a seperate page with more/larger pics. All of this I code by hand, and its become too time-consuming to keep up with.

I wanted a way to just input the animals’ pictures and descriptions and have it all be placed on my site automatically and in the correct format. It was suggested to me that I look into using a database system like php, or a cms, to accomplish this. However, my knowledge of website design consists of only a basic understanding of html and css code. I have never worked with php or a cms, although both sound fun in a terrifying sort of way (like skydiving). Which would be easier for someone of my limited experience to understand and work with, and which would be better for my needs?

For further reference, here is a sample page of my site: http://www.wolfdogrescue.net/adopt2test.html
Pictures are nonfunctional, but you can see basically what I am working with.

Well, building your own database-backed site is an option but would require a lot of learning. Using an existing free CMS is also an option, and only requires you learn to customize it, rather than create something from scratch.

Why don’t you give it a try? You can download a CMS, and set it up in a subdirectory of your site so that you don’t disturb what’s there. Only if you decide to replace your site with it do you have to install it at the root of the site.

Try WordPress for example. It’s traditionally a blog platform but would work just fine for what you’re doing. Each time you have a new dog, you log in to WordPress and click “New Post”. You type in the info about the dog, attach the pictures (using the built in image uploader), and save. It instantly shows up at the top of the list of dogs on your site.

I forgot to mention also, it would be nice if the adoption list could be sortable by different values (the animals age or gender for ex).

Im not sure if a “blog” type setup would be able to do anything like that?

And I would like the site’s layout to stay the same.