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What is a good design for a simple web site with mostly static pages and a blog?

I am helping a friend build this for their small business. We are looking for a simple approach that can be implemented fairly quickly. (I am a programmer and can help with coding, hosting, etc.)

One option is to use a site like virb, which lets you choose from one of their themes and build a site pretty easily. You can also include a blog. They host the site for a pretty low monthly rate. I recommended this option, but my friend wants a design that is unique and custom. So, I took one of the themes and started modifying the HTML and CSS. This might still be a good option, but...

...If we are going to greatly modify it, why not just create the static pages from scratch and use something like Wordpress for the blog. Is this a good option? It looks fairly easy to integrate Wordpress with a site so that the design and behavior are really cohesive.

Is this a good idea? Do you recommend any other approaches?

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You could just as easily build your static pages as static .html (or simple php/ruby/perl/python), and add a tumblr blog on a subdomain: (redirect to blog.)

There is no need to use one monolithic thing for a site, and there's more learning to be had by developing some of it by hand. This exposes you to web server config, basic web page generation, theme generation, and so on. Good mojo all around.

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That is an excellent point about the merits of developing some of it by hand. I may go this route, but I'd need to customize the blog template/theme such that it has the same look-and-feel as the static pages that comprise the rest of the site. Like you said, this could be a really good experience. (+1 after I get enough rep points to up-vote.) – bporter Jan 10 '11 at 17:31
Both Tumblr and Wordpress templates are easy to reuse for static pages (I do this on a number of my sites). Just #include the header and footers from your static pages, and reuse the internal structure. There's good learning in adapting the templates too, as you'll find it's simple to reuse them between systems (a common problem in my experience). – Bruce Alderson Jan 10 '11 at 17:53

Using Wordpress isn't really creating a site from scratch ;-)

But yes, in your case it would be a good compromise. To speed things up even more or if you never developped a Wordpress theme, you could buy from Themeforest and customize it, they have some pretty good ones.

That way you have more free time to polish the actual contents and need to spend less time getting the site running.

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Everyone so far has said Wordpress, but +1 for Themeforest. Some really good looking themes there. – Ryan Hayes Jan 10 '11 at 15:53
Yes, thank you for the Themeforest link. This looks like a great site. – bporter Jan 10 '11 at 17:43

Just use WordPress for the whole thing. It can handle the blog & static pages, you can set it up in a snap, and it's easy to modify.

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Wordpress + Template

I'm definitely no designer. Combine that with little time outside of work and family, and there's not much time left to work on my personal site. I use Wordpress and a template for my personal site and blog. It's fast to set up, there are lots of gorgeous templates available, and it's easy to maintain. It leaves me with time to work on other things and focus on the content of my site.

If you need more info on Wordpress, ask here:

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I didn't realize that Wordpress can be used for non-blog pages. I may suggest this for my friend. (+1 for this and for the stackexchange link - up-vote coming soon after I get enough rep points.) – bporter Jan 10 '11 at 17:38
@bporter - Yea, in Wordpress 3.0 they added a new menu system and a lot of cool stuff to be more of a general CMS. It's been really great. – Ryan Hayes Jan 10 '11 at 17:57

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