How can I make the most flexible website?


(Karen) #1

I just upgraded to RW 7 (from 5) and I’m working on a new website for a new non-profit organization. There’s a non-zero possibility that I might have to move (to WordPress?) some day. Is it possible to migrate a RW site to WP? If so, are there some basic rules to stick to, things to avoid, to make the process easier? Or is it hopeless, and easier to just start over?

The TLDR is that I am in the middle of learning a lot of things at once: how to set up a non-profit, how to file the proper tax forms, how to generate the data for the tax forms, what’s a chart of accounts, how to do accounting and bookkeeping, how to use website development tools, what kind of content, how to use G-Suite, how to use Ad Words, how to do SEO, you get the idea. At the moment it’s a solo project, so I really want to do things just once. I started with Wix because it’s so simple, but I’m on metered internet and RW lets me work offline. So I’ll start over with RW and rebuild the site, which is not so big right now. If I can do something now to make a future RW to WP migration easier, I will. The time I spend building the site is time I can’t spend recruiting a board of directors or learning software or learning any of the thousand things I don’t know that I don’t know.

Grateful for any advice.


(scott williams) #2

I’m curious to know what makes you think you will have to move to WP in the future?


(Bill Fleming) #3

If CMS is the possible reason for moving to WP in the future.

I would advise to check out some of the CMS stack which would allow you to create website with stacks but still can be managed by other using CMS without having to use RW.

There a couple of good CMS stack out there. I know Joe Workman developed a nice one.

Bill


(Karen) #4

I don’t know that I will HAVE to move … only that no matter how much I research a decision up front, there is still a lot of trial and error. I picked RW for a development tool because I used it in the past and liked it, and lets me work with the current limitations on bandwidth and money. At the moment the organization is supported mainly by myself. I hope that one day there will be others involved, and so it’s possible they might have other preferred tools. WP is very common, and I have good price hosting through BlueHost which is a big WP site, so a move is not inconceivable.

I will check into a CMS stack, once I get the site established. I spent most of the afternoon diagramming out possible content, figuring out priorities.


(Rob D) #5

You say: “I’m working on a new site”, but then, you ask: “Or is it hopeless, and easier to just start over?” This is a bit confusing. And then you ask about migrating to WP. Even more confusion. Usually, people migrate from WP to RW, not the other way around.

Knowing about all your business duties (your second paragraph of the original post), I think you would be better off hiring someone to build the website for you.

Building a website as a hobby is simple enough and does not involve deadlines. Building a website for business is a different story entirely. It is not just putting together some elements like plugins and stacks, so that everything looks acceptable. Apart from learning some basics of HTML and CSS, you need to learn about securing your site, about SEO, about members-only areas, about running an e-commerce online shop, creating mailing lists, etc. Those are not trivial jobs that you can accomplish in a day, a week, or a month. A busy person, like you, should wisely delegate creating a business-website to professionals. Especially so, that very often the success of a new business depends on a solid and attractive website. Just my humble opinion…


(Karen) #6

Great questions. The short answer is I’m insane.

You say: “I’m working on a new site”, but then, you ask: “Or is it hopeless, and easier to just start over?” This is a bit confusing. And then you ask about migrating to WP. Even more confusion. Usually, people migrate from WP to RW, not the other way around.

What I mean by that is I have a primitive site up at Wix, because I needed something right away. I’m now going to create a decent site in RW. I meant “Is it hopeless to try to migrate a site from RW to WP, or is it best to just start over?”

That would be ideal. There’s no money for it. I pay all the organization’s expenses out of my own pocket, and I’m retired, so I must be frugal. It’s not quite as dire as it seems … I have some background. I worked in a big old corporation for a while, project manager, software developer (in the very marketable language SmallTalk), software sales for a start-up…created and launched the very first website for the Kuwait Oil Company back in 1996…so I’m not a complete noob. I wasn’t qualified to do any of the things I did when I started out, I just took the jobs that were handed to me and figured out how to do them. That’s what I’m doing here.

The organization is called WikiBeaks (www.wikibeaks.org if you promise not to mock me) and the purpose of the organization is to keep people from buying parrots on impulse without knowing what they are getting into. Parrots are intelligent, and also not domesticated, so they often wind up living in dark back bedrooms, basements, garages and storage lockers (!!!%^^&%^&$$%^$) because the humans don’t know how to keep them, and won’t part with a bird they “paid good money for”. The idea is to use AdWords to find people searching for info about buying parrots, and get them to a site where they can get real info and not just a sales pitch. And not just my site, I hope to refer them to other good parrot forums and sites. Support not just the unbought parrots, but the ones already living with humans.

As you can see that’s not going to be a moneymaking venture. And yes, it will be important to do SEO - no good having a useful site if people don’t find it - and have an online store and everything a commercial site would have … but I’m hoping to get a little slack out of the goodness of everyone’s heart, knowing that it’s a volunteer thing.

It’s crazy to try to do all this, but I do enjoy a challenge. And I really am up to it. Now that I said that publicly, it really is a challenge. Better follow through, Kentuckienne. I have help from great groups like TechSoup, Google for Non-Profits, Microsoft, Adobe, and more. They donate software and resources that make it possible to create something. All I have to do is build something attractive enough to attract more help! Thanks, people who respond, your help goes further than you know.


(scott williams) #7

I see, my advice to you would be to use RW, Foundation, and TotalCMS to build your site. If you build it around TotalCMS you will never need to move to WP in the future.

I’ve built several non-profit sites using the above and the staff and volunteers now update them without issue.

I’ve been able to integrate other needs as well such as; ecommerce, member areas, auctions, scheduling and calendars, CRM, Kiosk’s etc. I have yet to find a need that can’t be achieved because of RW.

There are other frameworks and cms systems as well but the above is what I have used for non-profits. Others will no doubt chime in with their favorite combinations.


(Mathew Mitchell) #8

Scott’s solution is probably a good one for you.

Another alternative is to consider the Foundry framework (instead of Foundation) and to consider the Go CMS solution (instead of Total CMS). Go CMS will come out in about a week (perhaps less, perhaps more): so keep your eyes open.

Foundation and Foundry are both created by first-class developers. I find Foundry simpler and more in align with my own design sensibility. Of course, Foundation may be more aligned with how you like to work. But both, essentially, allow you to treat your web pages as blank pages where you can build what you want. I find this an easier approach to use. (This isn’t true for everyone.) RapidWeaver, like WP, is template driven. If you really want a typical template then you might want to consider the ones created by ThemeFlood. Will does a great job with his themes, and typically his themes offer a lot more customization options relative to others.


(Karen) #9

All great suggestions. I will most likely start with Foundation and Joe Workman’s Stacks, once I figure out the right thing to order. Partly because I see more information in the forums for them, and I’m digging through the posts as fast as I can. I bought Joe’s RapidWeaver book - again, stuff I can study offline is crucial, no way I can watch video from home. Thanks again, all … my knowledge is quite, how do I put this, out of date and I hope there is enough scaffolding left in the brain to tack some new on.


(system) #10

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