Create Our Local Guidebook
September 12, 2014 7:30 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I want to create a personalized website/blog/guidebook for our city. This would be probably something we can send to our friends or friends of friends when we visit. This would be much more personalized or We're looking for sites or software/templates (i.e wordpress?) that can help us build the site. I'm pretty savvy technically with websites.

Content on the site will include tourist recommendations, dining recommendations, drinking recommendations. We'll include pictures of us enjoying town, etc. Like to include easy to add links to websites/addresses and ability to pin on maps.
posted by sandmanwv to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Wordpress is perfect for this.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Opinions obviously differ, but I've never liked WordPress, despite using it to build & maintain three different sites.

I tested Squarespace a few years ago, and I liked it much better than WordPress. I particularly like the fact that it comes with tech support. A personal account (which is probably all that you'd need in this case) costs $8 per month.
posted by alex1965 at 8:52 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wordpress has a history of security issues, and while it appears that security updates are now automatic, it still needs more care and feeding than Squarespace. Wordpress is much more flexible and powerful, but at the expense of more time doing maintenance and tweaking things.

If you do use Wordpress, I'd use or use a Managed copy Wordpress, where someone does the maintenance work for you.

Squarespace is completely hands-off. You can do some customization, but not nearly as much as Wordpress, and not by default on a standard account.
posted by cnc at 9:51 AM on September 12, 2014

Best answer: Opinions obviously differ, but I've never liked WordPress, despite because of using it to build & maintain three different sites.

Only I have more than 3 websites.

I moved all my sites to BlogSpot a few months back.

The post function will allow you to upload photos, it has built in support for adding links (and it is not hard to learn to hand code links, which helps if something goes wonky with the link for some reason), and I just tested the 'add map" function, which I knew was there but have not used. In my test post, it added a link in the footer which will open up a google map. If you really, really want the map embedded into the post, there is probably some way to do it but if all you want is to have them able to readily access a map, that should be sufficient.

You can, of course, do this with Word Press. But, for the most part, I find BlogSpot a lot easier to deal with and a lot more flexible in terms of things like design choice. I initially thought you were stuck with their premade packages of templates but the reality is that those are starting points and you can go in and change the background image, color scheme, etc and the functionality of that is friendly to someone who has minimal skills while also having options that support more finesse and custom coding if you know how to code a smidgeon (which I do, so I use that on a few sites where I need something special to happen).

When my sites were on Word Press, I spent a LOT of time constantly looking for a better template because the templates never did exactly what I wanted them to do and most Word Press templates cannot be readily modified by the end user unless you know a helluva lot more code than I know. That is changing. There are a few Word Press templates out there these days which give you some flexibility. Since I have multiple websites, I found myself needing to learn how to customize multiple different templates. With BlogSpot, once I figured out how to customize it, that knowledge is global and lets me pick a different template and customize it on a different site without learning yet another system of customization.

So if you go with BlogSpot and you get tired of the look you have and want to change it, you can do so without having to start over with learning how to interact with the template.

When my sites were on Word Press, I fiddled with Word Press all the freaking time and didn't post that much new content. I still don't keep my sites as up-to-date as I would like, but now the time spent on my sites is mostly spent on developing my sites, not on fiddling with the content management system endlessly, to no real gain. That made me really crazy because I had moved to Word Press to get away from hand coding my sites for the express purpose of being able to focus on content creation, not on dealing with the back end stuff. Now, I can update them regularly. I just need to work out some other details, like what I actually want to write about. Yay!
posted by Michele in California at 9:59 AM on September 12, 2014

Wordpress is good if you'll be posting regularly. But I like Weebly if you're just building a site -- you pick from the various themes they have, and then you can drag and drop the layout. It makes it really easy to create the layout you want. If you want posts with just text and photos, Wordpress is fine. But if you want easy access to other features, like a slideshow photo gallery, for instance, I think Weebly makes it easy. There is a free version of Weebly. Wordpress is obviously free. Both have paid versions too.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:00 AM on September 12, 2014

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