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I'm just finishing the first numbered release of my open source project, and I want to build a simple website for it. I'm looking for a sort of "websites for dummies" service that lets you build a website by a web WYSIWYG interface. Like Google Sites, except I haven't explored it enough and also I don't know whether it has any interesting alternatives, which is why I'm asking here.

I should be able to host the site directly on my domain (http://garlicsim.org). I also want the service to require minimal maintenance on my side. It doesn't have to be powerful, I just want to be able to log in to change content easily, like a Word document.

Is Google Sites good enough? Are there any other services like that which might be better?

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closed as off topic by John Gardeniers, Darth Satan, Dennis Williamson, Sam, womble Oct 29 '09 at 16:20

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8 Answers 8

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If you'd like to do some SEO work or have a nice design then Wordpress is your best bet but you'll have to get your hands dirty on the design unless you purchase a template (which there are tons if you google for it).

Google Sites is very nice for a internal wiki or documentation but if you are trying to do a pretty site for users you will be pretty limited.

Wordpress would require that you host it.

Weebly is very cool and easy to maintain (you can point a domain to it as well). But at some point you might run into something that you need to host elsewhere for capability sake. But if content is all you need and you don't wanna host the site on a server of your own then that might be the way to go because you can change the design of the site and manage the content a little easier than Google Sites I believe.

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You want a simple CMS for the "word-like" editing. Systems like Wordpress would suit this nicely. On top of that, there are some hosting companies around that specialise in hosting wordpress, or at least, can set up wordpress for you easily. Just google wordpress hosting for more on that.

OR, you could simply sign up for a blog at wordpress.com, and host the code on launchpad or similar :)

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I should be able to host the site directly on my domain (http://garlicsim.org). I also want the service to require minimal maintenance on my side. It doesn't have to be powerful, I just want to be able to log in to change content easily, like a Word document.

Ok, you're asking for two things which are somewhat exclusive of one another. So I'd like to clear something up:

"I should be able to host the site directly on my domain" - do you mean to say that a hosting service should be able to use your domain (garlicsim.org) or do you mean to say you should be able to host the site on your servers? I'm assuming you're looking for a service.

I want to build a simple website for it. I'm looking for a sort of "websites for dummies" service that lets you build a website by a web WYSIWYG interface.

On the assumption that you're looking for a service, a great host for what you're looking for is: www.squarespace.com. They have a great GUI for building websites based off of the templates or if you really want to edit the pages, you can manually edit CSS. It's WYSIWYG, simple, solid uptime and it just works. They're also "cloud" web host so if demand goes up for your site, they can scale to match the needs of the traffic when it's needed. The price for the service is a little on the high end starting at $8 for basic features (WYSIWYG included). You can try out their service for free for I think two weeks and I've used a discount code from Leo Laporte (use: twit) for 10% off for the life of your service with them. It's simple, hassle-free, and no maintenance hosting. Try them out.

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1  
SquareSpace looks nice! That's the kind of thing I'm looking for. I just also saw Weebly. You know that? –  Ram Rachum Oct 27 '09 at 21:05
    
Haven't heard or tried of Weebly, but anything is worth a look. :) SS is a great host. I've been using them since March. I highly recommend SS if you anticipate traffic to grow substantially. Their scalability is another key factor which separates them from a lot of other hosts. –  osij2is Oct 27 '09 at 22:04

I would use something like sourceforge (www.sf.net) that just builds and hosts the site for you, and is meant for software projects. If you want something more personal; you said that you have written an application, solearning basic HTML with an 'in a nutshell' book and some basic web framework like Django probably won't take as long as you may think. As a coder, you might find it easier than a wysiwyg editor.

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+1 for sf.net and I tend to agree that wysiwyg can sometime "get in the way" of someone that is comfortable with code. –  egorgry Oct 27 '09 at 21:10
    
I know HTML and Django. What I'm looking for here is something that I can do in 1 hour without doing anything technical (except configuring my domain to show the site.) –  Ram Rachum Oct 27 '09 at 21:10

Were I in your shoes, I would get the project itself into SourceForge, then setup a site using WordPress. SourceForge is a great place for the code repository, version control, bug tracking, etc. But it is probably not what you want in terms of discussion, promotion, etc. WordPress is an open source content management system, and it is easy to get started yet very powerful.

Quick and Dirty Procedure ...

1- get your project into sourceforge.

2- Go to DreamHost, setup hosting for your domain, and so the one-click install of WordPress.
--> Note: I like DreamHost, but there are tons of hosting companies. I picked them because they have trivially easy wordpress.

3- Follow the steps to setup a basic site.

4- Buy WordPress for Dummies, and go through it.

5- Customize and tweak to your hearts content!

Finally, if your project gets fairly big, setup a StackExchange site for it!

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There are different ways to approach it, like creating your own portal site similar to Metadot or Zope. The question there is whether you want to take the responsibility for hosting it yourself or not. If not, you can look at something like the Google Sites. Minimal hassle, no worries about backups, etc. if you take that route. Otherwise sites using Metadot will let you edit things with a WYSIWYG interface, although personally I've had some issues with an upgrade that killed some PERL dependencies in Metadot and I've never personally admin'ed a site with ZOPE, but there's plenty of books out there on it.

If you're looking for quick and dirty you might want to set up a website in a hosted service. There's a learning and administration cost to using your own non-hosted portal site.

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For hosting an open source project, something like SourceForge or CodePlex seem like natural candidates to me.

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Maybe you are interested in a CMS that allows to edit the page in-place?

Have a look at Concrete5, it allows you to click your website together in minutes.

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