Resources to create a simple portal website


I wish to create a simple portal website.

By simple I mean:

  • page 1: list of hyperlinks (with nice buttons)
  • page 2: some text to explain what the portal is about

that's it.

I have some basic html knowledge and I wish to learn whatever is necessary to make the portal look like it's been made in 2010 and not in 1996: css? anything else?

How would you recommend to proceed? Which resources (website, book, other) would you advise?


asked Feb 12 '10 at 21:03
86 points
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6 Answers


Strange that nobody has mentioned WordPress : hugely popular, easy to setup, very customizable (templates). You can get your site up and running in less than an hour, without writing a single line of code.

answered Feb 13 '10 at 17:25
Output Logic
341 points
  • Agreed. I would also recommend getting the self-hosted version ( – Yasmine 14 years ago



if you wish to build it from scratch, I recommend you to read something like
Learning Web Design: A Beginner's Guide to (X)HTML, StyleSheets, and Web Graphics or HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible depending on witch will fit best your current web development knowledge. Check the books inside for a better understanding of its contents. You may even find other good books on the subject, since HTML and CSS are well covered topics.
For the coding part, I recommend Aptana, it's open source, extensible and very useful when coding HTML and CSS among others.

If you wish to do less coding or having more flexibility out-of-the-box, you may consider using a content manager such as Joomla!. There are many content manages out there, MamboOS and Drupal are other examples.
It will allow you to easily change the contents of your pages and provides some nice modules/plugins that may be useful for you, e.g menus and site search.
With a nice simple template (you may even got lucky and find one for free) it may be the shortest route for your goal.

answered Feb 12 '10 at 21:52
Fernando Martins
798 points


SquareSpace is all you need....completely browser-based development with no knowledge of HTML or CSS needed...and has that 2010 look you are after.

answered Feb 13 '10 at 02:24
Chris Dansie
491 points


Not sure what stage you are at. Hopefully you have some sort of drawing or web page already since you know html.

  1. Find a host for your website.
  2. Get a domain name and register it.
  3. Figure out a way to manage multiple copies of your page (production, backups, working copies, etc.) You don't want to crash your only page without being able to restore a working copy. Maybe you could have a second page, just to see what people think/try out other ideas.
  4. Research sites that have features you like/want to try. Maybe the user could select from a drop down list instead of all those buttons.
  5. Search the web for "how to's" to see if you can create them yourself.

Just put it on one page. How much relevant text could you have about a list of hyperlinks? Google has managed to not put a lot of stuff on their home page.

If you spend more than one week on this project, hire a web designer; unless you're having fun ;)

answered Feb 12 '10 at 23:57
Jeff O
6,169 points


CMSmadesimple is great for simple sites - easy to work with, can create sites quickly. With a little HTML experience, you can do a lot.

Drupal, Jooml a and the like is definitely a step up from there - products that have a good number of plugins & visual templates that can be endlessly customized to your needs. You can develop (or have developed) a custom application that works inside of these environments. In addition, many of the commercial template providers (Joomla is pretty good for this - yootheme, joomlart, rockettheme for example) offer quickstart packages where you can easily duplicate the demo (content, images, modules, etc) with a single install. From there, you can remove / modify to suit.

Which to choose? Depends on your situation. I tend to like to set a foundation that I can build on - so I choose drupal / joomla type solutions so I only have to learn it once. Sure, there is a learning curve here - but once you get the hang of it, adding functionality to your site becomes much easier than starting from scratch again.

Good luck!

answered Feb 13 '10 at 00:32
Jim Galley
9,952 points


Drupal, as mentioned above, is a powerful Content Management System (CMS) that has more features off the shelf than Wordpress (Drupal comes with blogging, forum, pages, menus, user login/permissions). Wordpress takes some hacking and many plugins to operate like a CMS. I like both for their strong open source development, but I'd stick with Drupal for site building and Wordpress for blogging. Joomla is comparable but add-ons aren't free.

If you want OpenID login functionality like this and other StackExchange sites have, Drupal has a much more developed open source OpenID module than Wordpress, unless you decide to bank on commercial providers like Janrain for Wordpress.

You can also use the hosted version if you don't want to install anything yourself:

answered Nov 24 '10 at 22:11
Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points

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