recommendations for Web site update?

I created the first iteration of my Web site by hand in 2000, according to the endlessly-amusing Wayback Machine.   While the URL has changed, the underlying design hasn’t.  It looked barely adequate ten years ago.  Today, it’s either laughable or pathetic.  I’m looking for recommendations on how to update it. 

Here’s what I’d like:

  • the ability to easily update text and add new pages
  • a graphic across the top
  • a menu pointing at different pages within the site
  • a sidebar that automatically pulls in teasers for my latest blog posts
  • forwarding old URLs to their new ones
  • I don’t have to learn CSS or hack PHP
  • served on my FreeBSD server

All basic stuff.

I have no interest in hand-coding the site, so that means a CMS.  I’ve found many CMS systems.  Most of them look really really heavy.  I installed Drupal and got a test site going, but Drupal’s vast capabilities mean that I have to dig through reams of documentation to do comparatively simple things.  I use WordPress for this blog, and various documents say that it can be hacked to support a static site, but that’s certainly not the usual mode of operation.  And there’s many more CMS out there.

I don’t set up Web sites for a living, and I’m not interested in mastering a CMS that requires hours and hours of learning just to create the site.  I would consider paying someone to do CMS configuration, the initial migration, and an hour or so of brain-dump into my head.

So, I’m asking for advice.  What are other people using to create small Web sites that don’t suck?

5 Replies to “recommendations for Web site update?”

  1. WordPress can work, creating pages instead of posts. It will require some small fiddling, but it’s not as much overkill as Drupal or Joomla.

    You shouldn’t change your site, though. It’s been long enough since people created sites like that for it to become ‘classic’. Give it another year or two and maybe an extra or two and it’ll even be nostalgic for anyone who was using the web in the previous century.

  2. Personally, I’m not a CMS fan at all, they all suck to varying degrees. I’ve ended up using Joomla as much as anything, though I really don’t care for it. I like WordPress better and it can be made to serve static pages. It’s not a perfect fit either.

    One resource I found helpful when evaluating options is, they have nearly 300 various open source options installed in a demo environment you can muck with to try things out with very little effort.

    I’d be happier if the world hadn’t shifted away from desktop-based GUI HTML editing tools to CMS systems and all their associated fluff and security holes. I see the benefits in some circumstances, it’s just a headache for all the sites I maintain though, as all the patching is more effort than any benefits of a CMS justify.

  3. Justin: I’d love to leave my site alone, but several editors have told me that my site reduces their willingness to buy my work. It appears that I’m lousy at pimping myself — er, “self-promotion.”

    Chris: Thanks for the pointer.

    I’ve elected to go with WordPress. I’m already using it for this blog, and it seems that many themes have the functionality I want.

  4. Love your site.
    I want to track you blog through Opera Mini, but the site don’t have rss?
    BTW, using Opera mini 5.1 beta browsing this site, the whole page is Vertical and Narrow, can’t read.
    May be the Themes’ problem.

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