phpBB is a free forum / bulletin board software solution that can be used to stay in touch with a group of people or can power your entire website. By customizing your board, you can create a unique forum in minutes. A word of caution, though – although the admin isn’t very difficult, it does require some learning and technical know how.
I use phpBB to run the backend of one of my online communities as an alternative to the ever popular Facebook Groups.
WordPress is a content management system that most of us are familiar with. It allows you to create a website or blog with ease. There are thousands of plugins and themes to use to enhance your site from your vision to a reality.
Although I use other content management systems (CMS), there’s an apparent reason WordPress is the choice for most small businesses and authors online. It’s just easy to use.
Cost: Free download of the software with opportunities to pay for additions to your website
Joomla is a content management system that lets you build a website and other online applications. It’s easy to use, and that makes it one of the top website building tools. It’s good for businesses, churches, government, family, etc. A content management system is the software that keeps track of every piece of content on your Website, much like your local public library keeps track of books and stores them. Content can be simple text, photos, music, video, documents, or just about anything you can think of. A major advantage of using a CMS is that it requires almost no technical skill or knowledge to manage. Since the CMS manages all your content, you don’t have to.
Joomla is a little more complicated than Wordpress but allows for more manipulation when dealing with communities and larger websites requiring more customization and coding.
Cost: Free download of the software with opportunities to pay for additions to your site.
Themeforest has over 17,500 website templates and themes starting at only $3. These themes and templates are compatible with many platforms such as HTML, Email, WordPress, PSD, Joomla, Magneto, and more. The files can be separated and searched for by platform, author, or popularity. Themeforest is a part of the Evanto Market website that also offers many other programs to help create the best and most efficient site for all your online needs.
One look around Themeforest and you’ll start to see familiar looks from your favorite websites on the Internet. It’s common for designers to buy a theme here, change it for a client, and sell it at a considerable markup. There’s nothing wrong with leveraging your time.
Cost: Ranging from $3 – $70
Rocketteme sells templates for WordPress, Joomla, phpBB, and Magento. They also sell plugins and extensions for their themes (though you can use them with other themes as well). They have an active forum to help guide you and answer questions during your build. We’ve found their themes to be superior to many of the others on the market and use them as a base for our websites often.
Cost: $37+ depending on membership