You are right. It can be done using WP and Discourse (as we do here) but SSO (single sign on) is definitely something that you won’t be able to do yourself if you have no tech ability. Standing alone they are cheap and easy to set up with very little (or even no) tech ability, but once you go down the SSO/integration road you need help. We can help you with that, but when you get to that level of integration you’d need to make a financial investment (a platform like ours would cost tens of thousands if you outsourced it).
[quote=“keelym, post:1, topic:1169”]
I’m also confused about the different types of Wordpress and Discourse and all the plug-ins and options available.
[/quote] There is essentially one type of WordPress and one type of Discourse, but multitudes of plugins for both.
For instance, on this platform we use a plugin that connects the two commenting systems, one to handle the SSO, one to manage the membership system, one for the shop, and SEO plugin, a username changer, and the list goes on.
If you want to build something fairly robust, getting a WordPress developer isn’t a huge investment, but it does get complicated once you start delving into SSO.
If you have a very small budget and are essentially testing the waters with your site, then keeping them separate might be a good first step. Get someone to help you set up WordPress with a theme that you like (for instance, here we use a heavily customised version of Eptima) and then you’ll be able to manage that yourself without any technical expertise. The same goes for Discourse. If you set up a hosted version you won’t have to do any of the maintenance yourself and will have good support.
To be honest though, I think your best approach would be to forget Discourse and look at BBPress. It is a free WordPress forum plugin that would integrate into your site and solve all your problems without the extra tech load. A good WordPress person could set all of that up for you in one go.
Envato or Upwork are good places to find someone along those lines.
Feel free to fire through any other questions.