Advice on setting up a blog/website/forum

(Keely Maitland) #1

Continuing the discussion from So, what are you working on?:

Thanks for the advice @HAWK. I agree and am steering away from LinkedIn. I like the idea of having an integrated blog-website-forum where the member could login once and post to the forum and comment on the blog. I believe that this can be done with Wordpress and Discourse but I’m nervous about both of these because I’m not a coder and aren’t sure how tech savvy I’d need to be to achieve this. I’m also confused about the different types of Wordpress and Discourse and all the plug-ins and options available.

Any advice on how easy it would be for me to achieve the above, if this is the best way, if I should just keep the blog and forum separate for now or other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

(Sarah Hawk) #2

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.

(Shellianne Redding) #3

Hi @keelym!
Your situation sounds very similar to mine! Like you, I wanted an integrated blog/forum/website but I lack a technical background. I looked at bbpress as well as several other WP plugins. I ended up choosing simple:press for my forum plugin and am very happy with it so far. I chose simple:press over bbpress because simple:press seemed to have more plug ins that made user management easier for me as well as a plug in to increase font size. I run a site for visually impaired folks, so the font size control was a deal breaker for me.

However, I literally just finished building my site and don’t have users on my forums yet. So I may sing a different tune once people start using my forums. My site is

Hope this helps! There are so many choices out there and I found myself totally overwhelmed at times trying to figure out the best approach too. :slight_smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #4

How are you going with your platform decision @keelym?

(Keely Maitland) #5

Thanks @HAWK and @RPSupportOrg for your replies and your great advice. I’ve gone with WordPress and BBPress and have hired someone from Upwork to set it all up for me. The whole community idea of a forum fits so well with the ideals of organic organisations so I’m really pleased that I’ll be able to create that for my website.