Top 5 Software Picks For Building Your Web Site

By: John Murray

While the term “content is king” is certainly true for web masters, you need to have ways to deliver that content to your visitors. I'd like to outline my favorite 5, that is what I consider to be “best in class” pieces of software to build your web presence.

First of all, let me set the ground rules. I'm going to assume you have hosting and that hosting provides MySQL databases and PHP. I would also say Java, but none of my top 5 require Java, so I'll save that discussion for another day. Another thing I'd like to point out is that all of my picks are either freeware or open source, so you won't need to buy any of these. Let's get down to business.

The 5th best software for building your web site.
I have a two way tie for my fifth favorite piece of web site software. They are Nucleus for blogs and Mambo for a content management system. If you read further down, both of these were beaten out for higher spots by other software but they deserve honorable mention. These are both excellent pieces of software and of course they are free. Mambo is an open source product and although I don't see mention of open source in the Nucleus web site, it is a community driven effort under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

The 4th best software for building your web site.
Photo gallery software. Okay, there are a million wallpaper sites on the net, but the one thing most of them have in common is that they are extremely popular. The reason for this is clear, people like pictures, desktop wallpaper and otherwise. I don't personally run a wallpaper site, but I do use photo gallery software to serve images to my other sites (and for personal family photos). The software I chose in this category is called Coppermine. This software is easy to use and customize. Did I mention that it's also free!

The 3rd best software for building your web site.
Blogging is very popular on the net right now and there are a ton of places that will let you start your own blog at no cost. Of course the drawback to this is that they usually put their ads on your site. Nothing in this world is truly free, they are making money off your work. Install your own blog software and control your own destiny. My favorite blog software is Serendipity. Of all the top choices listed here, this one is probably the most debatable. Their are other good free choices in this category such as WordPress and Nucleus. After trying a sampling of other software, Serendipity was the easiest to use, place ads on had the most attractive layouts (with the least work). Others will certainly argue this choice, and to this day I have blogs in both Nucleus and Serendipity.

The 2nd best software for building your web site.
Community forums are a great way to boost your web sites content. Get the visitors to do the work of putting relevant content on your site and over time you will have a perpetual content machine. My favorite forum software is phpBB. PhpBB is a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customizable Open Source bulletin board package (quote taken right from their web site). I found phpBB easy to install, stable and you can't argue with the price, it's free! There is a very active user community and it's easy to find add ons and customizations.

And finally, my #1 pick for the best web site software.
Joomla! Joomla is a content management system which has it's roots in another product, Mambo. I've used Joomla on more than a dozen web sites and am very happy with the flexibility it provides, it's stability and with the use of add ons, it's search engine optimization capabilities.

The current version (as of this writing) is 1.0.12 with 1.5 in beta. Joomla is an open source product, meaning that it is developed as a community effort and the source code is freely available. It's easy to find add ons for Joomla such as templates, SEO add ons and more. The install for Joomla (on GoDaddy) was painless for me, simply follow the enclosed instructions. If you haven't looked at Joomla for your web site yet, I strongly suggest that you take a closer look at it.

Author Resource:-> If you'd like more information about the products mentioned or Open Source Software in general, visit Open Source Depot. and Open Source Depot Forums

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