What platform to use for high-traffic online store with contests, forums and social components?
May 22, 2011 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm setting up a website which must include a strong social component. Users will share and modify designs and there will be contests voted on by users, a forum, and a store. I would like this to be able to handle high volumes of traffic, and I'd like it to be built on a flexible platform. What platforms should I consider, and where should I look for developers?
posted by fzx101 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you're building from scratch, LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP) or Ruby on Rails is probably your best bet. You shouldn't have trouble finding a developer on odesk or rentacoder.com.

However, what you're describing sounds like it could easily be done without a coder with Ning. The small monthly fee could save you thousands in development costs if you're willing to sacrifice some flexibility.

I'd go with Ning if I were you and spend less time on the nuts and bolts of building a site and more time making compelling content for your users.
posted by plasticbugs at 2:39 PM on May 22, 2011

There are multiple WordPress implementations that will do this out of the box with very little coding required.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:51 PM on May 22, 2011

With wordpress, should I have a separate host (like fatcow) or should I have wordpress.com host it?

Can you point to examples using Ning and Wordpress? What about a CMS like Joomla or Drupal?
posted by fzx101 at 5:04 PM on May 22, 2011

You need a stand-alone WP install at a regular host; WordPress.com is a weird hosted blogging thing and not what you want.

Here's a really simple implementation of a free theme. (It makes very little difference is what is being uploaded is websites, graphics, or whatever; that can all be dealt with.) Here's another example with a blog. Gallery items all link to sites in these examples but it's straight forward to give them each their own page, like this example. ThemeForest has loads of these for WP.

Social sharing on those pages is also super simple to add with one of a million plugins. WP is customised by plugins, so you can get virtually anything you want as an end product.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:54 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Actually, I have to say that the ecommerce plugins for WP suck, or at least sucked the last time I looked which was ages ago. However, I use a different ecommerce platform integrated with WP all the time; I'm not linking to myself but all of the ecommerce sites in my portfolio do this. It's not that hard but will move you from a 1 - 2 day project to a longer, more substantial project.

However, if what you want is basically a Threadless clone, that would be a much clearer project spec to give your eventual developer.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:06 PM on May 22, 2011

I've mucked with Wordpress (had a Wordpress blog for 6+ years), and though there are many plugins, it's still a blogging platform and not a full-fledged CMS. It would be like fitting a square peg into a round hole to turn a WP site into a Threadless clone.

If you're going it alone, avoid Drupal and Joomla. They're too industrial strength for the layman to wrap their head around. Otherwise, a competent Drupal dev should have no problem making a Threadless clone - just don't expect it to look pretty if they're not also a designer.

Here are some Ning sites that show how it could meet your needs.
The Spill
Kreg Jig Users Kreg has project pages, built by users. One would just need to implement some kind of voting system on those project pages and it could serve as a 'design' page.
Check out http://developer.ning.com/ning apps to see the kinds of ways you can extend a Ning site. Especially check out this plugin which may meet your needs.
posted by plasticbugs at 11:57 PM on May 22, 2011

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