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Old 24. Apr 2009, 02:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Website - A "Best Of" site for local community

I'd like to find a template for a "BEST OF XXX" Website for my local community. SOmething like Trip Advisor where people can search for local advice / highly rated sites and then members could leave ratings and write-ups like Trip Advisor has.

I'd start with restaurants but would like to have lots of categories to offer readers. There are 100's of these sites out there. I wonder if anyone has created a good public template.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 04:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Easy to answer that question: you need a CMS.

A content management system is the website machinery behind the page or template that you see. Your only problem is to decide which one, as there are over 3,000.

All CMS decisions depend on budget so you have to decide that first. However if you want to get started quickly then the answer is always use the best open-source product for your intended usage profile. Here I'd suggest Joomla as it will allow you to get up and running fast, look good, and have the facilities you need. It's got 4,000 plugins so you'll probably find what you need.

In database-driven webapps everything is done with plugins, otherwise you'd need custom development work for every job.

You need to find a host that provides top facilities for your chosen CMS, some are very poor as they are still stuck on HTML sites and the server setup is no good. You also need to decide what country to host your site in as this is critical.

This sounds like a site with good prospects. One single piece of advice I have for you before you start: decide on a two or three-word main site theme & keyword, this is the secret to initial success. In other words, pick something like 'Jackson Directory' or something similar, you hang your content and theming on that, and it helps you get a foot in the door early on.

Build links & content.
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Last edited by chris.p; 24. Apr 2009 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 10:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Thanks Chris - a couple follow-up questions

"You need to find a host that provides top facilities for your chosen CMS, some are very poor as they are still stuck on HTML sites and the server setup is no good. You also need to decide what country to host your site in as this is critical. "

You make two points here that I had not thought about or thought of as needing care. Could you elaborate on them booth, please:

1. top facilities host/server setup
2. country to host the site.

Thanks very much, Chris.

---------------------------
My post on Alt.computer.freeware that has received no responses:

I'd hoped experience members of this group might advise me if there
might be a repository somewhere of website packages, not mere
templates?

I've had a feeling that I'd like to create a local community website
that Provides and solicits Information and Reviews on local
companies. There's a little family run Mexican food restaurant in
our town that I discovered a couple months ago after driving by it for
nine years. SOme of the best, fresh food that rvials any of the best
chains you've ever tried.


I wish there was a BEST OF LEESBURG website that would review
restaurants. Yep, there isn't one in our town yet. It made me
think :
"what would it really take to create a site?" something like Trip
Advisor where you can SEARCH read reviews and , when signed up, leave
your own comments, ratings, review, etc.

Some of like ANGIE's LIST but starting with food joints in all their
flavors and categories.

Would it be that hard to create an operating website package and put
it out in Public Domain when stable for the world's use? Shareware,
beerware, thanksware ?

I could play in Dreamweaver but my experience really wouldn't be up to
this coding task. I probably could work through specifications of
user experience fairly well.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 11:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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OK, I read the alt.comp.freeware post and as you may have realised now, it's all been done - you just have to find it out there. The problem is the Net is so vast now that there can be a ton of stuff that's just what you need - but you've no way of knowing that.

But anyway you're sorted now I think. Here's the link to download Joomla CMS:

www.joomla.org/download.html

...and scroll down the page to this link for Joomla 1.0.15 (there is a newer version but it's too buggy as yet):

English (UK) 1.0.15 Full Package ZIP

You also need a couple of plugins so that it works correctly and is easy to work with:
sh404SEF -- fixes the URLs
JFCKeditor -- a decent visual editor
PU DB admin -- for backing up your database

And your own template of course - but no need to worry about that, you can change templates in Joomla in 10 minutes. There are about 5,000 to choose from and then you start to hack them to make them unique...

You asked about:
1. top facilities host/server setup
2. country to host the site.

Let's do country first, it's more logical. If you operate in the States then you need your site hosted in the States - that's because search engines assume that if your site is in South Africa, it will be more relevant to people there and less relevant to people in the US - and they adjust the search results they show people, to reflect this (if you're in Canada and you search on Google, Google knows you're in CAN and gives you the results it *thinks* you want to see - mainly in CAN).

So pick a host that's definitely in the US, and not in CAN or MX.

Hosting: yeah, this is kind of important too. You should first decide your budget for hosting, like $0, $0 - $50, $50 - $100 or whatever. You'll get what you need for $60 or less so that's the minimum budget for this job I think.

After that, google for 'joomla hosting us' or whatever other way you think you'll get the info you need. It's best to go with hosts who know what they're doing, as the only downside to this CMS (which has a ton of pluses) is that it's very sensitive to server setups, and throws a wobbly if the hosts are duff. But people who advertise for J hosting should know the score.

There are a zillion results, with Siteground and Rochen at the top. Siteground are a little expensive @ $72, Rochen about the same but I don't like them as they have a 6MB PHP memory limit on their accounts (a server setting that means you can't use web analytics).

Wade through that lot anyway and see what you find. Don't sign up because there is some other stuff I can tell you about before that. Hosts also have an auto Joomla installer (called Fantastico) but it's often set up incorrectly.

If you can't find one you like I'll give you the URL of one that's $36 a year.

I need to warn you that you are in for some serious brain pain for the first month, but if you can stay the course it's worth it. And there are a lot of resources I can point you toward.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 11:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And before you do anything else you need to buy your domain name.

Get a free account at namecheap.com, an excellent registrar, and buy it there (not via the host).

I can tell you the one you need to get, now, but best not to do so in public.
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