How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

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My site, is looking quite uncared for these days
and I know what I want to do with that site but I am not sure how to

I want the site to be dynamic. For example currently for someone to add
a class to the listings they fill out the form and the form is E-mailed
to me. After I receive the E-mail I access the appropriate page and
edit it to reflect the change. If the site was dynamic the visitor
would set-up a user id and password, login, fill-out the form and the
information would appear on the site without me having to retype it.
How can I modify and existing content management system (CMS) or create
a new one that will allow me to have users add, delete and edit
records. Ideally the CMS could be customizable, for example someone
could always add records and delete their own, but the system would
allow them to edit or delete records added by others, say after a user
has been registered for thirty-days. This would hopefully deter
vandalism of the database.

In addition to the geographically orientated class directory, the site
also has a meet calendar, which is chronological. It would be nice for
the CMS to indicate which meets have already occurred and perhaps
E-mail the person who created the record or the person listed as the
meet contact to remind them to update the information for next years

The CMS should also facilitate  a massage board, If the message board
was more tightly integrated into the server that hosts the site and its
databases, I could move the message board, or at least dynamically
generated highlights of the message board to the front page. Where
users would see the latest massages posted and perhaps information
about recently added meet and class listings. I would also like to be
able to have all of the other functions currently on the site, such as
the article submission and photos be made to automatically appear after
a trusted user as uploaded them.

One site that I think does a good job of being self-maintaining and
accurate is, individuals can create records on that site
and there is even an incentive for users to actively participate in the
site. The whole site updating process occurs with much less human
intervention than my site, where no matter how trusted the user is, I
still have to be the one to add or delete information from the server.

My budget for the project is $500, not including hosting and domain
fees. Would you please give me advice on how to proceed in creating or
modifying an exciting CMS so that it will possess the features
described above. Also please elaborate how I, as a Webmaster with no
database programming experience, should spend the $500 to get the most
bang for the buck. I realize that for $500 I will not receive a
turn-key CMS meeting my specifications above. However I would like to
know what I should pay others for and what aspects of this project can
be done by me.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

Suggestion? Well you need to find sombody with php/coding experience
that can do all these things, it shoulden't cost you more then $500 and
if it does, find a new programmer because i'm sure SOMBODY will do it
for less, hell i would.

All these things are misc. scripts tied together, so you need an
organized coder with some background in php/database programming.

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

Wow that is so exciting! I never imagined that it would be possible to
find a freelancer willing to do a whole project for $500! If the person
wanted to modify existing open source code and release the final
product as open source I would not have a problem.
is basically a hobby site and the type of CMS I am doing could be
easily adapted to other types of organizations.

Do you think it would be cheaper for me to have the coder do everything
and give me the final product like you would do in a commercial
setting, or should I find a coder willing to teach me how to write the
code and know that the project will take longer?

I bought "Teach Yourself PHP, mySQL and Apache" by Meloni, but I lost
interest in it because I did not understand the application of some of
the functions. I am teachable though and with someone tutoring me, I am
sure I would learn the material by actually working with code, instead
of reading about it and trying to remember what does what.


jblanch wrote:
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Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than$500? wrote:
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look at Etomite, and do it yourself. If you think you're going to get a
decent product for that budget, then forget it now.


Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

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I can say that I paid $400 for some dude to make something similar for me and
after that I just took over.  It is easy (PHP + MySQL)
and it is awesome!

The main thing in your product is to know exactly what you want and to make all
the html (just pretend it works) so that all the
programmer needed to do is to add a bit of php at the top.

I'd do it for $500 (US) for sure - but only if the conditions above were met.

That is, you need clean, validated ( and easy to understand html

If they had to be produced as well (including making them look nice,
userfriendly, etc...) you'd be looking more at $1000+

Happy coding

- Nicolaas

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

As said before, you're looking at several PHP/MySQL scripts tied
together and integrated into you HTML. You can find many nice
"pre-made" scripts to handle your back-end operations, such as
add/delete/modify db records, at . However, you
need a good understanding of HTML/PHP/MySQL (my preferred languages) to
implement these scripts and then modify and customize them to meet your

I would not recommend $500 for "everything" you had specified. Maybe
one or two apps such as the calendar and classes plus annual
maintenance fees (hosting, etc...).

I would be cautious with $500 --- in fear of sloppy work that is not
well thought-out and would lead to more headaches in the long-run.
Sure, anyone can "slap" together what you request, however there would
be no thought put into future modifications or development "The Big

The Class Listings User System should be no less than $500 due to:
1) Database modeling/design
2) User Management System
3) Back-End Management System
4) Unforeseen Issues (<-- always!)
5) Site Integration
6) Tailoring
7) Testing
8) Implementation
9) After-the-fact changes

The Calendar:
There are many great "already-made" apps for this. This "could" be done
between $200 - $300.

Guestbook with "last few comments" pulled:
Throw-it in with the above two ;).

Almost anyone with the experience and skill can do it. My philosophy is
forward-thinking and consideration for the big-picture. For example;
you get it all done for $500 and quick. Six months to a year from now
you decide to change something or add something... if the original
system was not done well you could end-up paying allot more and
loosing-out in the long-run. Is $500 now worth the hassle and
additional cost later?

I think you need a complete package of hosting, management,
design/development, and administration --- leaving you with no worries
as well as minimal time invested on your part ($$$). This would save
you thousands in the long-run.

$800 - $1,100 (Quick-Guess) should get you the whole deal of developing
your requests, website management/administration, hosting, etc... the
whole nine-yards.

Good luck.

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

iMedia wrote:
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Interesting, you have good negotiation skills. Just curious, what
is the tentative time duration according to you? Also, are you
suggesting to do from scratch or to do betterment on existing scripts?

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FWIW, if someone here in India reads this, he may get a mild heart

<?php echo 'Just another PHP saint'; ?>
Email: rrjanbiah-at-Y!com    Blog: /

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

R. Rajesh Jeba Anbiah wrote:
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Thank you Rajesh.
Based on just's original request, I would estimate
between 30-90 days from development to full production for just the
"geographically orientated class directory­". This part would have to
be from scratch so that we would have full customization, easy
integration, and complete scalability. It's the "user-managment" and
nature of the business that I feel makes this a custom job.

Database Modeling - 2-3 weeks
Front-End Scripts: 2-3 weeks
Back-End Scripts: 2-3 weeks
Final Integration: 2-3 weeks
Touch-Ups: 2-3 weeks

I'm not currently aware of any "script package" that would handle this
request for an already developed website and be easily integrated into
the already existing pages, which I'm sure are .html with no SSI or
..html to .php parsing (gets messy).

The message board and message board highlights is easy. It's the
customization into the current site's schema that becomes grunt work.

The "article submission" and "photo upload" would have to be discussed
in greater detail before I could quote that. I would seriously consider
a pre-made scripts for both, such as WordPress ( )
and Gallery ( /) and only charge for
integration and schema fit.

I would never take this job unless I was the hosting provider, site
developer, and administrator. Any other way would be unethical to due to support issues. It would be a big mess.

This is why I made my original recommendation.

Just image the time he/she would __save__ if he/she did not have to
manage and administer the site as well. That's well worth $1,000 per
year with the custom solutions requested. IMHO, it's a steal. I
developed and currently manage far less for $800/year.

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Why? High or low? I hope you say low.

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

iMedia wrote:
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Thanks, interesting. So, I guess you're quoting approx 1K USD for 3
months. Sounds like a poor pay for you as I remember someone here from
UK said that a fresher can earn about 2K pounds per month. Hope and
wish, you'll get a better/big project soon (along with this one).

<snip great explanations>
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LOL. I appreciate the humour:-)

<?php echo 'Just another PHP saint'; ?>
Email: rrjanbiah-at-Y!com    Blog: /

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

R. Rajesh Jeba Anbiah wrote:
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NO! All costs are under Annual License Agreements --- downpayment, paid
in-full on completion, renewed annually, and covers complete hosting,
maintenance, and full-support for all aspects of the site.

Also, I just peaked at the site and it's a much bigger job than
originally described. It a nation-wide database. Still, I would
consider a 15 minute telephone call to discuss the specifics.

What I did notice is an excellent opportunity to charge very small fees
for class listings or memberships, which would help generate the
revenue to maintain such a site and such a request. Automatic payment
notifications tied into the listing requests is not difficult.

In looking at the site, I can not image the time it takes maintain it
in static HTML. <ouch>

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

3-months (30-40 accumulative hours) with my current jobs. If it were my
only job it would only take 4 weeks.

Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

So you estimate that it would take an experienced coder 30-40 hours to
turn into a dynamic site? Holy cow! Good thing I
asked, I would not even want to hear your estimate for how long it
would take a beginner to code it.


iMedia wrote:
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Re: How to make a customized content management system for less than $500?

I consider myself an amateur. Others consider me proficient. When I get
my Zend PHP Certification, then I will call myself an expert. However,
I still feel at least 30 hours should be invested in such a project.

It took me about 5 weeks to learn enough PHP and MySQL to put together
a basic automated calendar system, photo voting and comment system,
page cataloger, and photo ranker. I learned it all off of PHP's HTML
Manual at and MySQL's manual at"> ~ I also received great
help at /

But, I have basic experience in other programing languages and a
background in Computer Science. You can the above mentioned work at"> The voting~comment system is located in
the 2004 Halloween Gallery, under PICS. The calendar page is
dynamically generated off a custom database and scripting that allows
the client to enter their own dates and venues. The website is 2-years
old and is currently undergoing a new design.

After that, it took me about a week to learn enough so that I could
integrate PayPal's IPN (Instant Payment Notification) into a custom
ticket sales database and script that I created for a client. A
write-up on that work can be viewed at

Good luck. Cheers!

PS: I wouldn't take the job for $500. However, I'm willing to help you
anyway I can via email.

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