Content management for dummies
November 15, 2007 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Content management for dummies?

I want to create a technology news site. The core of the site will be editorialized links to news stories, a little like Slashdot, with frequent updates. But the site will also carry product reviews and features.

Here's the kicker: I want it cheap as in free, and I haven't got the time or inclination to learn PHP/Perl. I know the basics of HTML. I'm reasonably skilled with Linux/Unix command-line.

What I want is something that I can just drop into a server, maybe tweak a little, and then go.
posted by deeper red to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like what you're looking for is something like Wordpress. Although, depending on what you're looking for, such as how many people will be contributing, whether you're looking for just a static news site or a community-driven site, etc., you've got plenty of other options: Joomla, Scoop, even Slash, among many others.
posted by General Malaise at 9:49 AM on November 15, 2007

Couldn't you run it off a blog like blogger or wordpress? Slashcode is going to be way too heavy for you.
posted by oh pollo! at 9:52 AM on November 15, 2007

If you host with something like dreamhost, they offer Joomla (which I think would meet your needs) as a one click install.
posted by drezdn at 9:57 AM on November 15, 2007

Joomla's nice, has a good community, and is relatively easy to work with. Consider it thirded.
posted by boo_radley at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2007

Will it just be you or a chosen group of people posting (WordPress, Textpattern), or members who can sign up semi-freely (Drupal, Scoop, Slash)?
posted by tmcw at 11:03 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: It'll be just me right now, but who knows for the future? My ambition would be for this to become a major portal for the technology niche I'm writing about, which is underserved right now. So I'd be looking to host adverts too and I guess that will mean an accounting backend...? I need it to look professional so I'm not sure Wordpress would cut it.
posted by deeper red at 11:17 AM on November 15, 2007

You can write your own theme in WP (I've done it, and I know barely enough PHP to get myself in trouble) and make it look as professional or amateurish as you want. There are also a metric assload of pre-made themes for it. You can have multiple authors. If you get to a point where you outgrow it, you can export your data and import it into something else.

Joomla, as I understand it, would be a better option for a more community-driven website, if that's what you've got in mind. I have more experience with Drupal, which I can generally recommend. But either of those would be overkill for a one-man (or few-men) show. Wordpress or equivalent is nice in that you can get up and running very quickly.
posted by adamrice at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: It wouldn't be a community site as such but I'd certainly be looking at having a forum, and a commenting system for front-page stories.
posted by deeper red at 11:57 AM on November 15, 2007

I'd recommend Drupal over Joomla, personally. Otherwise Wordpress is a good option for a lot of sites.
posted by sycophant at 5:02 PM on November 15, 2007

I'm not sure why a lot of people feel that WordPress=not professional. It can be made to look as personal or as professional as you want, and with caching it can handle pretty much any load.
I have used WP and Joomla, and I would recommend WP for anything that isn't a full-fledged community site with numerous authors. Joomla was a lot more complicated to set up and use, and it had a lot of capabilities that I never ended up using.

I would suggest that you start by trying out the ones that look good to you on OpenSourceCMS. That way you can figure out which of them would work best for you without having to install them first.
posted by gemmy at 5:53 PM on November 15, 2007

WordPress. With the right theme, it can look as professional as any of the other big tech news websites. Look in here, here, and here for one that suits you.

For advertising, you can manage that through Google's own AdSense interface.

... become a major portal for the technology niche I'm writing about, which is underserved right now.
Don't worry about the infrastructure - just put up something simple and start writing. By the time your portal is popular and the money is rolling in, you can pay a designer or firm to redo the whole thing. If you spend your time setting up some complex system, you're gonna be doing more maintenance than writing and losing audience.
posted by junesix at 6:19 PM on November 15, 2007

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