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Excited about an idea, but confused on choosing the right website framework.

webedgemedia

New Contributor
Sep 19, 2019
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1
Hello fastlaners,

After finally stumbling on an idea that fits well with the CENTS commandments, I'm stuck on choosing the proper avenue to begin building the site. Basically, I'm aiming to start a membership website in which members are able to submit reviews on specific events within the chosen niche. I've done some digging on my competition, and discovered that the top player seems to be using Ruby on Rails for their site, while the other is using Wordpress with plugins. The ROR site is beautiful. Much cleaner than the other with some really nice features.

As someone who has limited site building experience, Ruby on Rails appears to have a much steeper learning curve, but the result could be a cleaner, more sellable site in the future. However, Wordpress should still be a fine starting point. After researching, I'm unsure what would be the best Wordpress membership plugin choice is that will allow users to submit reviews. Also note, I'd only like for members to be able to submit reviews. Any specific plugin advice? I'm not afraid to spend on better plugins.

Hopefully this is clear enough, and you fine folks can offer me some direction. Thanks a bunch!
 

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Xavier X

Silver Contributor
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Jan 1, 2016
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If you'll be building it yourself, go with Wordpress. There's a big difference in learning curve between WP and ROR.

Your best option is to fast track this phase. A lot of people waste time in it and ultimately abandon the project, in favor of the next shiny object.
I'd recommend finding a premium Wordpress theme on ThemeForest that already offers the basic functionalities you need. Then customize and improve it as you see fit.

Get to the crucial phase asap, which is promoting and validating if people actually care about what you're offering. No need to spend a year tinkering with creating a site, only to be met with cricket sounds at the end.

Look at themes like this: Reviews

And see if you can find any other one that better suits your idea. Search terms like reviews, membership etc on ThemeForest or any WP theme market.
 

SparksCW

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I've done some digging on my competition, and discovered that the top player seems to be using Ruby on Rails for their site, while the other is using Wordpress with plugins. The ROR site is beautiful. Much cleaner than the other with some really nice features.
This is a dangerous line of thought for a start up.

They may have a cleaner, better, more advanced site but they've likely been around longer, have revenue, maybe had funding, had more experienced backers etc. Had first mover advantage etc. Maybe the owner is a RoR developer so just required time rather than money to build. There's many reasons.

I ran my e-commerce sites on Magento for years because that's "what all the tops sites are on" but it's been an expensive nightmare and we've switched to Shopify achieving far more than before. Magento is great but you need big budgets and developers on hand to run it - if you don't have them then you'll get beaten by someone bootstrapping an easier to use system all day long.

Our Shopify store looks 10 x better. We also moved a smaller site from Magento to Wordpress and guess what? The Wordpress store looks 10 x better.

It also proves that you can switch any time, we've migrated platforms three times since we've been in business and it's always relatively straight forward (just time consuming!)

The platform is irrelevant, build something that works for the cheapest possible and then prove people will pay for your product/service before going further. You can achieve almost any website design/style from Wordpress easily.

Amazing Marketing + Basic Website beats Bells & Whistles Site + Poor Marketing every time.
 

Digamma

Gold Contributor
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You're procrastinating.

The ROR site is beautiful. Much cleaner than the other with some really nice features.
The backend doesn't have anything to do with it.

As someone who has limited site building experience
Outsource it.

Ruby on Rails appears to have a much steeper learning curve, but the result could be a cleaner, more sellable site in the future.
Wrong.

Potential buyers are more familiar with WordPress.

WordPress developers are cheap and plentiful.

Hosting WordPress is easy. RoR is a pain in the a$$.

PHP and WordPress are more sellable.

After researching, I'm unsure what would be the best Wordpress membership plugin choice is that will allow users to submit reviews. Also note, I'd only like for members to be able to submit reviews. Any specific plugin advice? I'm not afraid to spend on better plugins.
Outsource it.

Hire someone with expertise and ask them whether WordPress is a good fit, and how they'd do it.

Then let them do their job.

EDIT:

I should add that even if WordPress is not a good fit and you need to build from scratch, you want to go with a PHP framework like Laravel, not RoR.

For the reasons listed above.
 
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webedgemedia

New Contributor
Sep 19, 2019
6
1
1
If you'll be building it yourself, go with Wordpress. There's a big difference in learning curve between WP and ROR.
Thanks for the advice on this. I'll dig into Theme Forest and find something that works to get started.


C'mon man! You can create any kind of website in wordpress. The framework has nothing to do with the design. Also in WP, you've tools like Elementor and ThriveArchitect, which makes it really easy to design a site.
Good to know! I'm still green when it comes to site building. Thanks for the tips.


They may have a cleaner, better, more advanced site but they've likely been around longer, have revenue, maybe had funding, had more experienced backers etc. Had first mover advantage etc. Maybe the owner is a RoR developer so just required time rather than money to build. There's many reasons.
I did some research on the site I mentioned, and you're spot on! It states that the co-founder was actually involved with site development before starting the business. Good to know that migration is always possible in the future.

You mentioned moving your site to Shopify. I have quite a bit of experience with Shopify. It's so simple to use and scale. Hope your biz is doing even better since the switch.


You're procrastinating.
Can't argue with that. Haha. I have a problem of thinking everything needs to be meticulously planned before starting. I know that's totally the wrong way to go. It's a bad habit I'm going to fix.

Thanks again everyone for all the help. It's much appreciated.
 

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