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Website Design/Help Needed

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  • Website Design/Help Needed

    I am the webmaster of an online community for stepmothers called SecondWivesClub[dot]com and we use the 4.2 version of vBulletin CMS. We are happy with the look of our forums, but our homepage could really use some design improvement (to say the least). The site was founded in 1997, and it definitely looks like a site from 1997. Does any one have any suggestions on what we can do to update the look of the site to bring it into the 2010's? I am very familiar with WordPress and how one can purchase really cool looking themes. But I am having trouble finding themes or ideas for the non-forum parts of VB sites. Also, if you are a designer or consultant who think you could help, please let me know!
    Thanks for taking a look.
    Warm regards,


  • #2
    I remember websites from the 90's and I have to say, even with this colourful appearance (which fits well in this case), the 90's were worse. Much much worse.

    But regarding your question: Do you want a single software solution? This would result in modifying vB to fit your needs. Or do you want to combine software, eg. WordPress and vB? Or doesn't it matter and you just want something "new"?


    • #3
      Hi TLMD,

      I am open to both modifying vB or trying to combine it with WP. The site has some content outside the paywall (the homepage, some testimonials, & some articles), but most of the content is inside the paywall (forums, user pages, shared resources, etc.). vB does an acceptable job with the stuff inside the paywall, but I am finding it very hard to make the non-forum stuff outside the paywall look like a modern website.

      I always assumed that it would be tons of development work trying to create a site that uses the best of WP along with our legacy vB content/functionality. But as you could probably guess by my wording, I am not the most technical person on the block. Also, I really have no idea as to what is even possible when it comes to modifying vB to make it look normal. I cannot even find another site that has anything close to what I am looking for.

      Anyway, hope this all makes sense. Let me know if it does not or if you have other questions.


      • #4
        I would start with asking myself

        "What am I willing to pay?"
        You can reach pretty much everything, if you hire people who know how to modify vB (custom coding). It can get a completely different look, it can get completely new features. But custom work comes with a price and if you want some very exclusive stuff, it won't be cheap. You said you cannot even find another site that has anything close to what you are looking for. This may be the reason. The question is: Have you seen for example a WordPress site that looks like you want it? Or do you have some general examples for sites you like (opticwise)? This also leads to a 2nd question.

        "What features do I need?"
        Is it that you want to present addition content to people, but it does not necessarily be connected to your vB user accounts (for example no access restrictions; this is what I understand from your above words)? Then a combination of a third-party CMS (WordPresss, Joomla, Drupal, Typo3, just to name some very popular ones) for the "overall website part" and vB for the forum part would be a possibility, because it both suits your needs and isn't that complicated to achieve, which saves money. There are tons of good quality themes for eg. WordPress and even letting a company create a custom theme is not too expensive. Also it may be simplier to do small adjustments on vB to make it fit to your new look than to do it the other way round (make vB look like a modern website). You say you assume that it would be tons of development work trying to create a site that uses the best of WordPress along with your legacy vB content/functionality. It should not be, if your vB content can be somewhat "separated" from the overall website content/information part.

        If your user account have to work over your complete website for some reason, then an alternative to a complete vB modification would be to use a bridge between a third-party CMS and vB. I am pretty sure I am seen one for WordPress and vB4 in the past when I was searching for it, but I am not sure if there was additional developement being done on it lately. But even if you hire someone doing this for you (creating a new bridge), I think this is still much ceaper than a complete vB modification.


        • #5
          Thanks TLMD, my apologies for the delayed reply.

          You have given me tons to think about, mostly just nailing down exactly what I want, which was part of the cause for the delay. I previously assumed that what I wanted would be influenced by what is possible. But it sounds like anything is possible if we are willing to spend enough $$$. From your comments, I am thinking that we would want a WP based homepage and and WP outside the firewall article section. Then, behind the firewall, the forums, private chats, and other vB CMS internal resource pages. The user accounts would not need to be able to access both, just vB still.

          Do you have a sense of how big an effort this would be/ how much it's cost could range-- to mesh WP and vB in such a fashion?

          Thanks again!



          • #6
            Well, from what you tell here about your needs/expectations, it seems like a good idea to use a combination of WP (or any other CMS) and vB. Then you can benefit from two advantages: On the one hand you combine the strenghts of both systems into a complete solution, on the other hand this will be way cheaper than doing a complete redesign of vB. And since WP is used by so many people, a lot of companies exist which do custom work on WP for a relatively low price.

            The costs depend on weather or not you want a standard (non-exclusive) theme or a custom (exclusive) theme. Also many companies add nice features to WP (such as shortcodes, responsive layouts etc.), so it is absolutely impossible to say anything about a price for that kind of work. If totally depends -- again -- on what you need and what you want. I'd suggest to get in touch with a handful of companies. Tell them what you are planning to do and ask them how much it will cost you. Eventually they don't do custom theming on vB, so you have to find someone for this, too.

            That all being said, I am really not sure why you want to invest a lot of money just for some visual improvements. I don't have a clue about how your current site looks like in the important sections such as articles, video, ressouces etc. since they are not open to public, but it doesn't look totally outdated to me. It seems to be a good vB4-powered site with all the features it needs.


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