Sorry I missed this thread earlier. I guess my main questions would be what kind of content would go on this site? Do you have an idea of how many pages you want (which goes back to the content)? If this is a static site (and it could be even with the multi-lingual button thing), what would change and how often?
Good questions all. At the moment we're looking at about half a dozen sections, where each section is typically a single static page. Not much text even, except for testimonials (of which my wife has a good number already) and descriptions of the various services. A contact form. No real need for a forum, polls or other dynamic content, though I'm still hoping to convince my wife to keep a blog
In fact, I know a guy who does exactly this, though I don't think he is very cheap. He specializes in dynamic sites, so he tends to price that way even for static ones. However, you may even be able to look at some art colleges and find a student or a dozen that has some talent to do so.
Right now I have no idea what cost bracket I should expect. I'm still trying a few DIY solutions with customizing a ready-made template. If that doesn't work out, I guess there's always elance.com, though it's a bit of pig-in-a-poke thing.
I am just getting into using Joomla and finding it a fantastic tool. There are loads of free templates out there (e.g. JoomlaShack) but if you want to personalise them you can use the commercial product Artisteer (www.artisteer.com) to produce your own template. It works VERY simply by suggesting a rough template design (click until you get one you like) and then you can customise just about everything you want (graphics, colours, layouts) by working along a tabbed interface and tweaking settings that you want to change. Artisteer produces templates for Joomla, Wordpress and Drupal (amongst others including plain HTML).
Joomla can take a little getting used to but I found some excellent videos to get you started at http://www.buildajoomlawebsite.com/ (they aren't free but only cost $10).
Here is my first attempt using Artisteer and Joomla (I am porting it from WordPress and it isn't quie complete yet): www.friendsofgovi.org.uk
Thanks a lot Carol and 40Hz for suggesting Joomla. I'm playing with a local installation right now, and it's the first CMS I am fairly comfortable with and feel like I can get the hang of customizing it sufficiently. I still don't know how to make multi-level menus, which I would eventually need, but I'll get there.
Joomlashack has a number of really sweet pro templates, and my wife already loves this one
. We must have seen about a hundred different designs so far, and this one is an instant hit with both of us.
My main doubt about Joomla (as well as WordPress and any other hi-tech solution) is whether I can get the bilingual aspect to work - it must be flawless. My wife's company does translation/linguistic services, so the translation of the site needs to be impeccable. The Polish version of the site must not display dates in English, for example, and I don't know if Joomla can handle that. (I'd rather avoid running two installations in two separate directories, although it's a solution if all else fails.)
There is a translation mod for Joomla
, but from the description it isn't clear whether it provides only for multilingual versions of articles, or whether it can serve multilingual strings from the core engine as well. Users' reviews of the mod are awfully mixed - it's one of the top rated extensions, but has a number of 1-star reviews that claim it's useless. I'll probably email the authors, since they seem to be responsive in the review area.
apparently the JoomFish translation mod doesn't support Joomla 1.5 yet. The Language forum on joomla.org has lots of people asking how to make a bilingual site, and little in the way of advice. So that issue remains the main stumbling block right now.)
I do like Joomla so far though, if only because I can see how to work with it right from the start. Drupal seems impenetrable by comparison.
No-one has suggested WordPress yet? You have the languages as categories & publish each static "article" once in each category. I ran up a sample site for a friend recently in a few hours using the Atahualpa theme & fell in love with it, once you get used how it works, it's so easy to customise & is fully variable width.
Your solution doesn't have to be complicated. And it can be free, except for the hosting. And you should be able to do it yourself.
And thanks Rodney, too! I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere, because I reinstalled WordPress the other day and immediately zoomed in on the Atahualpa template. Very nice. My points above about perfect translatability apply here as well, of course; I haven't yet found a WordPress extension similar to the one for Joomla.
The crazy thing is I posted a very similar question over two years ago
- when I was thinking of remodeling my software site (it dates back to the 1990s and is beginning to smell). At that point I tried a lot of different things and gave up. I still like TextPattern a lot, for the cleanliness, the reusable forms and especially for the textile syntax (would love to have textile in Joomla or WordPress!), but making a txp-powered site out of static pages is rather frustrating. Plus, good TextPattern templates are very scarce. There are a few good-looking ones, but they're all image-based, fixed-width designs, so the layouts fall apart as soon as you press Ctrl+Plus in the browser - that's unacceptable.
The software site has different requirements though. For that, I'd really like something simple (the site for the Everything search engine
is perfect), but with the ability to do placeholder expansion/substitution in php (e.g. to automatically insert items like app name, current version and release date on different pages without entering them manually on each page). That should be easy to code manually of course, but none of the CMS-alikes I've seen seems to provide for that out of the box.