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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thinking of creating a website sometime in the near future to help my girlfriend advertise overseas property. I am quite technical minded and pretty good with pcs. However, I have no idea where to even start with website creation.

Can anyone recommend a place to start or a list of the things I might need to think about? Do I need to pay someone a monthly fee to host the website or can I set something up myself? Someone mentioned Dreamweaver, is this the sort of thing I should be looking at to design the web pages?

I know I could probably solve all my problems by paying someone else to do it, but I am a tight northerner and it's something I would quite like to learn for myself!
 

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Take the time to learn HTML, it doesnt take long to get the hang of it and there are countless websites out there to help you and whats better you can write it in notepad. If you right click on any website and select view source you can see the code to double check the syntax against your own. I wouldnt bother with a dedicated program to write sites.
You will have to pay a small monthly fee to host your site.

Hope this helps

Adam
 

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What do you want the website to do for you?
  • Advertise a single property
  • Advertise multiple properties
  • Allow booking
  • Show availablity

Depending on the above (and any other questions you may ask yourself), and your statement about not knowing how to start a website, the answer can be varied.

If it is the single property, then a simple HTML page on a cheap host will do the trick.

If you want more complex, then you may well find that there are addins to Content Management Systems such as Joomla/Mambo that do pretty close to what you want. This is not something that has not been done before, so the solution may already be available for very little money. However the hosting may be a little more complex as it will require a database.

Adrian
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, excellent response! My girlfriend laughed at me when I said I would ask on a diving forum and here I am 20 mins later with several really good replies already!

Peebee - yes I'll definitely be there next wed. I shall get the beers in ;)

She is involved in selling property and recently property management and rentals so I figure she will need some kind of searchable database. Not sure what you mean by "addins to Content Management Systems"!

Thanks for all the advice so far...it's beginning to come clearer!
 

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Not sure what you mean by "addins to Content Management Systems"!
CMS is about formatting and presenting a website without having to know quite so much about formatting a webpage. It is also easier to change the entire look and feel of the site using templates. Howver setting it up is a larger step. There are several of us, amateurs, here who have set one up.

Addins/Extensions are additional block of code giving certain functionality. Such as Joomla! Extensions Directory - Reservation Manager

Adrian
 

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Static sites (plain old HTML) can be knocked out pretty easily. Dreamweaver is a good tool for that but some HTML knowledge is a good idea. Frontpage produces terrible code (there is a "clean up Frontpage" command in Dreamweaver). Coding in pure HTML is tedious and a complete waste of time but you do learn how it works. There are quite good HTML editors out there that will spot unclosed stuff and code errors which notepad won't.

You should also get familiar with style sheets so you can easily keep the look of a static site constant.

As soon as your site gets to more than 5 pages then you really need to look at a way of managing the layout seperately from the content. There are CMS systems out there but for a simple 20 page site a basic knowledge of php will do the trick nicely. This way, when you change a menu item you change it once and the whole site changes rather than having to go through every bloody page making the same change.

If your content is going to change frequently then a proper CMS system is the way to go as once you have done the site, adding and changing content is simple. There are "halfway" houses like Macromedia Contribute where you get someone who knows their arse from their elbow to design the site and make areas "editable". Then you just nip in and change stuff as and when you need to.

I've done a few sites from static to database driven shopping doofers and everything in between.
 

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If you're looking for a full system and have no idea where to start I'd recommend, either,

  1. pay someone to do it (probs mega bucks for a full system)
  2. find some open source script that already does it

I know that the full system costs mega bucks as I'm writing one for a company at the moment (although they want the whole business run as an online application). Already written software solutions exist which cost in the region of £4-5,000 and then additional £1,500-2,000 extra per year for a single computer license (researched this).

So you come down to open source. May be a bit more fiddly to set up, but you can knock something up with Joomla or Mambo, they're pretty powerful bits of software when you get into them. A couple of searches in google show up some free software packages, for example,
Property Real Estate Management Script PropertyMax Pro
...and there's plenty more here....
Hotscripts.com :: PHP :: Scripts and Programs :: Classified Ads :: Real Estate
If you manage to find an open source version that fits quite well but not perfectly you can then get in a web professional to make the changes you require.

As for hosting, you'll need something that gives you access to a mySQL database, and php. PHP will be fairly standard but you will have to check that your package includes a mySQL database (lots do just not on the cheapest packages). There's lots of good companies out there, one for example that I use is 1&1.

If you'd like any more info PM me, this is part of what I do for a living so can put some more info your way.

Lloyd
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cheers!

That's brilliant. Cheers all. Need to spend some time working through these and see what is the best option. All very interesting stuff and I now know a lot more than I did before. It's also given me a thousand other ideas that I didn't have before! Ways that you can use a website that I hadn't really thought about that go way beyond just advertising.

Greens incoming and if any of you are ever interested in buying overseas property, renting an apartment in the Murcia area of Spain or property management, let me know and I will do my best to get you a good deal! ;)

Expect more questions on this topic as I delve deeper into website creation!
 

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That's brilliant. Cheers all. Need to spend some time working through these and see what is the best option. All very interesting stuff and I now know a lot more than I did before. It's also given me a thousand other ideas that I didn't have before! Ways that you can use a website that I hadn't really thought about that go way beyond just advertising.

Greens incoming and if any of you are ever interested in buying overseas property, renting an apartment in the Murcia area of Spain or property management, let me know and I will do my best to get you a good deal! ;)

Expect more questions on this topic as I delve deeper into website creation!
Annoying isn't it :D
 

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what i previously said stands, check out our website which is nothing flash just created through frontpage which as i said came with the computer

if you register your properties with villarenters.com / rentalsystems.com it cost's nothing to create the page, they charge you 10% if they introduce someone [which includes the credit card charge so the customer can book your property with their VISA card without you having to arrange the facility yourself]

their package includes a callender which you set the prices and availability for, they then give you some code to insert into your website so you have instant on-line bookable availability on your own site customers paying by credit cards, if you have multiple properties you can set a page/pages for each, each property has it's own entry on villarentes so has it's own callendar.

dave
 

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As for the option of going open source or a CMS you can allways hire a poor student to set it up for you. All the options appear good. The main problem is content/layout plan for the site. Overcome these hurdles and the rest can fall into place a lot easier.

in a way to go about things i would start off by asking yourselves:

1) What do you want the site to do?
2) How much are you willing to pay, or are you willing to do it yourself (not recommended for anything other than a none content driven website [examples of a content driven website are Yorkshire divers, BSAC etc])?
3) What would you like to include in the site eg plan?
4)How much time are you willing to spend on this site (eg learning php/ASP SQL HTML to build your own solution or how to use a content management system) ?

Websites can take a lot of time and effort or they can be simple, quick and easy.
Being a programmer I find the hardest part is the content, Get that nailed and the rest can fall into place.

Good luck, and dive in Gibraltor
 
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