Monday, September 14, 2009

The other day, my brother asked me about setting up a webpage for his local group, so I came up with this quick evaluation of a couple of different options, and am throwing them up here for prosperity.
There is a couple of different options that are available out here and they generally follow the line of
The simpler it is, the cheaper it is. Which has the plus side of making it easier to manage a website yourself and properly the next person after you will be able to use it.

Common options

1) Google Apps/Pages
+ Free
+Really Easy to use,
+Still looks pretty damn good,
+supports multiple users (with some tweaking) - and even real time editing!
-How much you can customize it
2) Blog
+ Generally free,
+Easy to use,
+supports multiple users out of the box, for adding comments and new posts
- VERY simple pages,
-Hard to make "static" plain pages that stay the same [for like standing schedules, routine documents,etc]

2)Paid Hosting somewhere (,,etc)
+Maximum amount of customization,
+can have a database online that can pull and manipulate data exactly as you like,
+can do all kinds of fancy and shiny things
+If done correctly, can look REALLY professional
-A lot trickier to setup
-If the one "tech person" who setup leaves the group, you're pretty much screwed most of the time
-or can look REALLY cheesy if done poorly

3) There is also "free web hosting" out there, that sticks advertising's onto your page and have all kinds of limitations that decrease of a lot of the benefits you would otherwise get.
Hosting from a company like is really cheap for small sites (often less then 50 cents a month) but still allows the same level of customization that you can get from one of the bigger companies.

Without you telling me explicitly what your needs are, I am going to suggest you give google apps/pages a shot.

If you already have a free google/gmail account, then I would say go to ( ) and play around with the templates and see how the editing works, and how you like it.

If you DO like it, then your group can purchase a domain name (,, among MANY others) for about $10/year and then sign up for google apps and link them together (copy and paste a few numbers).

It gives you more features like..
Such as - Web Hosting, Email Hosting, Group mailing list, Shared Calendar's, Shared Documents and more.

Go checkout this description page [those videos do a good job explaining the benefits]

and then sign up for the free version (which has gotten really tricky to find, recently)

You can do basically the same thing with a bunch of the free gmail accounts and sharing each new document/page you make with each other manually.

The main advantage with the app version (with a domain), is that you guys can have one unified web presence for your group, with one shared folder between all your members to keep track of everything.
You can send and receive email's using that same name, so it is clear which group you are representing when you are interacting with outside groups.

So for Example, lets say you could get

people would go to to see your webpage
if they wanted to send email, it would go to

In the end, not that big of a deal, but it is surprisingly easy to setup and can make you guys look a lot more organized (if that is what you are going for).

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