What platform to use for a small website?

I want to make a small website for a friend.

The site will be mostly static. It will have a biography page, contact info, a google map, maybe a comments section and an article section. Only the article section will be updated from time to time with new articles.

What should I use to make the site? A friend of mine swears by Joomla and says that’s the way to build it. I’ve played around with Joomla a bit and to me it looks like more suited for big sites with content that gets updated very regularly, not a tiny static site.

Another thing with Joomla is that I haven’t found a way to modify the template.

I also have access to Dreamweaver, but I don’t know how to use it yet, but I want to learn.

What other tools would you recomend?


Use HTML. Easier to come up with a design and build it from the ground up than either come up with a design and shoehorn it into a platform, or come up with a design that fits the platform.

I use Homestead for a small business website. It’s all WYSIWYG and costs about a hundred bucks a year.

In the free arena, there’s webs.com. Also, you can make a decent static sight for free on bogger.com, or tumblr.com. All depends on how professional you need it to look.

I tried Wordpress a little and I like it. You can easily customize the look and feel of the site, which is not easy with Joomla.

I’m afraid I am not good enough in HTML to make a good looking site.

I already have the web hosting space and the domain.

Yeah, I’ll second Wordpress. I’d’ve seconded HTML because for a static site, you can really make it look unique rather than the relatively similar looks of all blog-based sites. (Don’t get me wrong, you can do great things with Wordpress, but I’ve yet to find a site by a non-professional developer or designer that doesn’t scream “HELLO! WORDPRESS SITE HERE!”)

But if ease of updating and adding pages, and having people comment on your pages or posts are what you’re after, Wordpress is an excellent, free and flexible solution. If you already have webspace and your host has Plesk or cPanel, most likely installation of Wordpress is a breeze, since both offer easy, one- or two-click installation applications (cPanel with softalicious or Fantastico, and Plesk with, um, well I forget what it’s called but it might just be its own application manager).

Joomla and Drupal would be overkill for your needs. Drupal is particularly flexible, but there’s no need to get in a locomotive if you’re just gonna cross the street. Wordpress’ll do what you need it to just fine, and there are kabillions of plugins (add-ons) to add new features to the basic setup.

One caution though: because of its popularity, Wordpress is always being attacked by hackers and spammers. So you want to make absolutely sure you keep it up-to-date with the multitude of security updates (which is pretty easy, as WP offers a fairly seamless upgrading process); to defend against comment spam, moderate your comments, use “nofollow” (an option in WP that adds a line to external links that makes your site less attractive to spammers, as it means these links won’t be indexed by search engines; spammers actually share lists of sites that don’t use “nofollow” and will go to town on 'em) and be sure to grab the akismet plugin (among other options which may have superceded akismet by now; it’s been a while since I last installed WP).

Good luck!

I’m shopping for a new CMS myself at the moment (I currently use a basic, non-database CMS that has fallen out of support).

I was convinced I would be switching to either Joomla or Drupal, but having tried both of those, I find them both vastly overcomplicated - I’m sure they can be used simply, and I’m sure there’s sound rationale behind each and every individual one of their features, extensions, etc, but the sum of all that means they’re really fiddly to get started with.

There are oodles of prebuilt free templates out there for them - but have you seen them? It’s like Geocities came back from the dead - every concievable clever little widget, bell and whistle has been vomited onto the page. Again, configuration can be applied so as to only use the bits you need, but again, fiddly, fiddly, fiddly.

WolfCMS is looking favourite at the moment.

Wordpress, Wordpress! You can even host it with Wordpress.com so they’ll install it for you and everything.

Joomla is overkill for you. Way too much stuff in there you don’t need.