How do I make my dream website a reality?
January 8, 2013 6:01 PM   Subscribe

So I have this idea for a website, whoop de doo. I was really excited about it, but the prospect of execution is already wearing on me, and I haven't even done anything! Where do I start?

Basically, I want to make a website where people can post videos (with my moderation) and also pay a fee to view them. (No, it's not porn.)

My experience with programming is limited to earning a C+ in my C++ class in high school. Do I need to hire someone with programming skills to do this or is this something I can learn on my own? I took an HTML class ages ago, which I remember not being nearly as bad as my programming course, but could something like this even be accomplished through HTML?

I've toyed with the idea of taking a programming course at a local community college, but I'd really prefer not to be on campus, so online classes seem more appealing. Particularly free ones.

I'm just lost about this, so if anyone has any ideas or has made something like this before, I'd really love the input.

posted by madonna of the unloved to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on your timeline to complete the site, you could learn the skills it takes to do this. But since your experience in web development is very limited, that probably isn't your best option. Furthermore, this site would likely require some knowledge of relational databases as well as a means to storing videos and possibly dealing with scalability.

Those are just a few topics to consider off the top of my head. This would definitely take a lot more than knowledge in HTML.
posted by MMALR at 6:11 PM on January 8, 2013

You might be able to find a commercial WordPress template that does what you want for $50 - $200.
posted by COD at 6:37 PM on January 8, 2013

Yeah I would recommend looking into wordpress. Start off with a good template, add some ecommerce features depending on your needs, and you could be good to go.
posted by phaedon at 6:39 PM on January 8, 2013

You could get a lot of this from an established Content Management System like WordPress or Joomla or Drupal or vBulletin, and then maybe hire a programmer to hook up the parts that don't work well together right off the shelf.
posted by Phssthpok at 6:46 PM on January 8, 2013

I'd say that this online course (Udacity CS 253) very shallowly covers the absolute minimums you'd need to build this site. If this idea is not an urgent one, I don't think it could hurt you to take this course, and then at least you will know a little bit of what you're talking about in order to find someone to build it for you.

However, you can probably get a wordpress option going much faster. Note that I would absolutely not recommend you attempt to build any kind of payment system yourself with less than a couple years web programming experience (at which point you will know enough not to do it anyway).
posted by jacalata at 6:59 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I assume that you're not expecting this thing to get to YouTube-scale, but even well before that, serving videos effectively (fast downloads for your users and affordable bandwidth bills for you) is non-trivial. And most of the ways that I'd recommend a newbie get around that (low-end CDNs, hosting on YouTube, etc.) don't really work well if you want to charge money for access. The combination of serving videos and charging money for it is fairly tricky for anything but the smallest of sites. I'd be surprised if there's a Wordpress template that does this well (though if there is, I hope someone will link to it here because I'd be very interested to see it).
posted by primethyme at 7:37 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Taking a different approach, I would say start by writing a detailed functional spec/requirements description. Doing that will make it much easier for you to figure out how to go about the implementation, as well as whether you even still think it's worth doing.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:02 AM on January 9, 2013

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