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How to Create an Advanced Community Website for Free

By Edited May 29, 2016 1 2



I will assume you have some basic knowledge of Internet, HTML and computers and now want to use that knowledge to create an advanced community website of your own. You should also have decided on the subject of the community. This will help to guide many of your decisions as you progress. You should also have a plan about the website structure you want to create.

Services and Tools

The base service you will be using is Github Pages. It provides the webservers to serve images and HTML pages. This service also provides a basic text editing tool which makes things very easy. All you have to do is sign up for a free account and create a new public repo. You may be wondering why we did not make the repo private? Well, everything served from this repo will be publicly available on the Internet anyway. Make sure you select the "Project site" and then the "Start from scratch" options.
Put up your first HTML page and make sure you can browse to it on the github.com address.

Now we need to add the community elements to the website and we start by adding a few article pages in raw HTML to Github. Then visit the MOOT site to get a few simple code snippets to add to your pages to get both commenting and forum functionality.

No community would be complete without article rating functionality so this is what we will add next. Go to PollDaddy, sign up for a free account and create a Javascript rating code snippet to add to any content you want rated. You also get functionality for adding surveys, polls and quizzes. 

Now you have a pretty decent website. But just in case you want to add even more here comes a few tips.

  • Github support custom domain names if you just buy the domain and configure Github to use it
  • You could also go crazy with images by using the free image manipulation service Cloudinary

What About Maintenance?

I can tell you as a professional developer that this is an extremely resilient and low maintenance setup. This is definitely a good thing. You do not want to spend hours and hours every day fixing problems. All the HTML pages you host are static so nothing can break.
They are served out of Github which is a very stable and fast service. All your dynamic content are hosted by other services so in case of failures someone else have to fix it. Pretty nice!

Final Touches

Now when you have put in all that effort to create a brand new community why not make some money off of it? That too is a simple thing for a handy person like yourself. Do you have a Google account? You probably do which means that you are almost there already.
All you need to do is sign up for Google Adsense and add a small snippet of code to your site.

You also want to keep track of your visitors and this is easily done using Google Analytics.
Sign up for it and insert the small code snippet given to you.

That is it. You now have your own personal, advanced community website up and running. Good luck!



May 2, 2014 5:21pm
How would this compare to a wordpress based forum?
May 5, 2014 3:16pm
The big difference compared to Wordpress is that the things you have to take responsibility for in this setup are simple, static webpages - they do not break. With Wordpress, first of all, you need to have a web server and database running. Then find hosting for that. This setup will run your dynamic pages - they will break. The solution outlined above is simply hassle-free!
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