Integrate a blog into a website?
April 19, 2010 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Please point me in the direction of a good online tutorial for integrating a blog and a forum into an existing website.

The website itself is pretty simple - CSS & HTML. That's pretty much the extent of my knowledge as well so it would be very helpful if the tutorial was for beginners or at least didn't assume you knew your way around Wordpress installation, etc.

Of course, if any of you smart folk could lay it out simply here, that would be great too.

Thanks!
posted by jammy to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's unlikely that you'll get much useful advice on this, unless you can give some idea of what blog or forum you're thinking of using. Each will have its own quite distinct installation requirements and each will have a different process for creating or adapting a theme to match your current site.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:12 AM on April 19, 2010


Depends how much integration you need. If the blog already exists somewhere else, you could use something like feed2js and just pull the feed and get a copy/pasteable widget for the existing site. You copy/past some code, the text pulls in to the blog, updates frequently enough. Can't do stuff like commenting, that would happen on the main blog. I do this on the sidebar of my blog, pulling in the last five AskMe questions and the last five books that I've read. Alternately you could build a simple site in WordPress or some freebie content management system, make most of it static pages and then use the blog feature on one of the pages. Retrofitting a design is a little challenging, but I've done it and I think your skills are up to it. Once you get past the install stage of WordPress [I know it's a big step but it's doable] then you can do a lot of stuff with it and it's pretty full-featured.

So I guess the next questions are

- does the blog already exist?
- is the site hosted someplace where you could get wordpress up and running, do you know?
- I assume you or the person you're designing for owns the domain? If the hosting is somewhat mobile [i.e. you could switch them someplace] you could maybe move them someplace with wordpress pre-installed
- I assume the site is hand coded now?

Blogger.com used to offer an ftp solution that worked well for this sort of thing, but they no longer do. I'm not sure if there are other services that offer this functionality or not
posted by jessamyn at 9:14 AM on April 19, 2010


hmm... i guess i worded this pretty poorly

i made (handcoded) a website for a friend who is starting a new CSA farm - it is already up & online - they own the domain & the host can definitely handle things like wordpress

they would like to have a blog & a community forum added to their site - i was hoping to find a simple way to do this and to do it within the site itself as opposed to having to send folks off to a wordpress hosted blog or some forum site

as to what *kind* of blog or forum? they're not looking for anything fancy - for the blog, an easy way for them to post news items about the farm along with some kind of commenting function - for the forum, some way for the farm members to post items for discussion (recipes, gardening tips, etc.)
posted by jammy at 2:29 PM on April 19, 2010


If they can run wordpress at their host, they can definitely have a blog, but it's trickier to have the blog show up in an identical looking page as the rest of the site. That is, you have to make a wordpress theme that looks like the HTML+CSS that you designed for the rest of the site. No idea on forums at all, but I'd be surprised if there's not a way to do that with some sort of wordpress plugin.
posted by jessamyn at 2:53 PM on April 19, 2010


You might want to consider integrating the web site into Wordpress instead. It's great software for blogging, and you can also make it look and act like a static web site if you want. There's also a good free forum plug-in called Simple:Press that integrates completely. (You can see it in use at my web site, which is listed in my profile).

Wordpress is also free and so are many of its best plug-ins and themes. There will be a learning curve but you can find lots of help on the net. It is so powerful, has so many features, and can increase your productivity so much that you really should consider it.

You can easily try out WP by going to Wordpress.com and signing up for a free blog. Keep in mind that that you can do more with WP if it is installed on your own host.
posted by 14580 at 6:09 PM on April 19, 2010


I think when people were asking for a "type", they meant Wordpress, Joomla, Blogger, etc. - generally you would first choose the software that best fits your needs, then go from there.

It can be really overwhelming when you're just getting your feet wet, but it's definitely do-able. I would suggest Wordpress as mentioned above; I've been using it for a while now (and I started out as much of a beginner as you are now) and have found the resources and support to be great.

Here's what you would do:
- get database info from your host (username, db name, password)
- download Wordpress
- follow their "5 minute install" directions (upload to your server and make minor edits to the config file). If you make a folder within your site directory called "blog," then the address for the blog will be "yoursite.com/blog."
- From there, actually styling the pages can be as easy or complex as you want.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 4:48 AM on April 20, 2010


thanks for the answers, smart peoples - not sure yet what i'm going to do, but this really helps in terms of knowing my options
posted by jammy at 6:25 AM on April 22, 2010


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