Step by step plan

I had an idea a couple of days ago about a website, that I would like to make, but I no nothing about website building. So I have now spent 2 days reading everything that I could find on HTML, CSS, Javascript and so on, but the only result for now is a terrible headache :slight_smile:
So I wanted to describe the website that I would like to have to you, and ask for an advice - a plan, that includes all the major (and minor if possible) things I will need for it and in what order should I learn and apply them. I think it would help me a lot if I new what I was dealing with :smiley: and what comes next and so on.

So the website should be centered around a forum and a project form and list (I really dont know how best to describe it - its somewhat similar to
classified ads, but without the buying/selling stuff, that is - just a form, where people can enter a description of there project and a list of things or people that they are looking for. And other people can then join this project(s) and/or talk about it in a particular thread in the forum)
There should also be a section for articles, published by the admin, a section for blogs perhaps and all the usual stuff - home, help, sitemap, search, calendar, about us, links u.c.
The graphics can be from a template (is that the right name? ;D ), though a custom-made logo and some cool things like that would be nice.

Thanks in advance!

To build all that from scratch is a huge undertaking, so your best bet (other than contracting someone!) is to install a content management system (CMS). There are lots of free and commercial CMSs out there which manage the code for the various features you want. That way, you can basically concentrate on the look of the site, which is handled by CSS. So perhaps get a good book on CSS.

An example of a free forum CMS is Magento, but there is a steep learning curve learning how to use something like this, and you still have to work out how to handle articles and blog posts. There are other free CMSs for these as well, like WordPress for blogging, but it’s probably better not to have multiple CMSs on one site. So I would suggest using something like ExpressionEngine, which handles everything from articles and blogs to forums, but you have to pay around $300+ for it. Still, it’s much better. You would need to be happy with HTML and CSS to use that, but these are tow of the easiest aspects of web design to use.

Welcome to Sitepoint :slight_smile: That is lot, for someone who don’t have any experience or whatsoever. I.m.o. are there three things you could do.

  • Don’t reveal any more of your plans ;), start learning all necessary programs to build such a website, and when you think your ready make a start.
  • Use one of the CMS systems, although I’m not a big fan, it could be one of your options.
  • Hire a designer/developer who can set up a website answering your requirements.

If I was you I would go for the first option

Thanks for the great advice :slight_smile:
Since its only bin a couple of days, Ive probably not yet realized how hard it would be to do that on my own, so I think, I`ll give it a go :smiley:
In your exp. how much time would that take, working/studying say 2-3 hours a day?

Anyway, great to have such a forum, where I can advice to the pros :slight_smile:
Thanks again

Unless you’re planning on hiring a professional web designer, I’d advise to start small. You have too many features at once which is bound to create more chaos than good.

The things you’ll be needing is a place where you can host your site (webhost). You need either an FTP application or Secure Shell (SSH) access to upload files to your remote server.

For a start you’ll likely be working with an Apache server and many of the popular CMSes are written in PHP and use a MySQL database, therefore you need to make sure your hosting plan has PHP and MySQL abilities.

Regarding where to start… like Ralph suggested, it makes sense to start with the basics. Leave Javascript out for now. Start with HTML and CSS as they build the fundament on which every site is built.

A good place to start is HTMLdog. He’s got some great tutorials that’ll teach you the basics.

When you’ve assembled the basics of HTML and CSS, you could start experimenting with a Content Management System (CMS). This isn’t optimal, however, as a lot of the learning process is taken away from you and you’ll eventually have to go back and learn at least some aspects of web design properly in order to maintain, secure, extend, and improve your site.

One of the easier CMSes is WordPress. I’d recommend going with that for a start because most of the other solutions might be overwhelming to you at this time. There’s also a [URL=“”]forum app that was created by the same people who brought us WP.

And because all beginnings are tough, you could make your life a bit easier by taking advantage of a classifieds plugin or theme for WordPress. This list should give you lots of options.


that’s a huge undertaking for someone just starting out.

it’s a bit like a builder taking on building a 20 storey building before he can build a backyard shed.

but it’s good to aim high :slight_smile:

if it’s reasonably urgent then I would agree with ralph.m and look at some of the free open source cms options.

otherwise, imho I think you would be better off just thinking “baby steps” for now and start working through the w3schools tutorials on html, css, javascript and php (in that order) “one brick at a time”

if you get stuck or need more help/advice simply post back :slight_smile:

Off Topic:

Oh loverly. Hadn’t seen that before. :slight_smile:

This list should give you lots of options.

Is that the link you meant, Maleika? (It points to bbPress.)

Oh, sorry and good catch, Ralph! I fixed the link. :slight_smile: