How Do You Make Your Website?

Dreamweaver, Webs, or anything else, how do you plan and create your team’s website?

We are using Wordpress because it has a nice backend and is very customizable. Let me know if we can be of assistance to you. PM me if you are in need of a webhost and I can suggest one that hosts non-profits for free.


Our lead website mentor Datwan Dixon wants the kids on the website team to leave the team actually learning something so he has them code every bit of the website in Notepad.

Our team used to code everything in Notepad. Everything. Now we are using Dreamweaver to construct an entirely new site, but it isn’t up yet; the old Notepad site is still up. Our goal for launch is January 5th and we are hoping to meet that deadline!

Redbird Robotics transitioned to using Weebly last year and it has allowed us to produce a nice site. Weebly hosts for free and is very simple to use, however once you learn about web design it can get annoying.

From my personal experience with WordPress, I would consider it to be much more customizable and still very easy to setup and launch. The themes and plugins for WordPress are numerous and its blogging features lend themselves well to writing a build season blog while still maintaining a nice site.

runneals, could you also PM the free webhosts for non-profits? Thanks.

We use Joomla and customized/wrote custom code off of existing templates.



I absolutely do not want the kids using any sort of developer environment that shields them from actually understanding all the code inside the web page.

Once I get them through the hand-coding, they can pick up the other stuff later. Then they’ll never be stuck because their developer software won’t let them do something.

It does limit you. Wordpress has plugins that would take an experienced individual quite a while to write. I’ll accept the limitation if it means the kids actually learn how it works under the hood.

Just because WordPress and other CMS’s are easy to use out of the box doesn’t mean they can’t be customized extensively and the students won’t understand the functionality of the code.

Have them develop a custom theme (or heavily modify an existing one), and instead of using plugins for certain functionality, create it from scratch.

When it comes to web design, why re-invent the wheel?

We use a combination of Dreamweaver, Wordpress, and custom code.
Dreamweaver we use for the main parts of the website and general content. Wordpress is used for our blog, as it’s easier to upload content than re-upload an entire page of the website, as well as the possibility of mobile uploads. The custom code is used for our team’s personal website where we keep our directory, team information blasts, and daily check in.

As said by David, why re-invent the wheel? I may be wrong, but I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a web design place that would require hard code.

I really like the combination of wordpress and a custom theme. It’s really easy to program your own theme(html, css, and php are super easy to learn) and you learn so much. Plus you get a website customized to your team.

That’s how we did it. Using WordPress as a CMS makes it easy for everyone to make pages on our site, but we wrote a custom theme in Notepad++/Sublime Text.

I can add my team into the “Notepad++ we hand code every bit” camp. I like having complete control…

We mostly use Wordpress on the backend. We find their themes to be elegant and simple to use. Not having time to develop custom themes or plugins hasn’t seemed to limit us. It allows us to focus on the content. But the customization tools are there if desired.

Two different themes: and

we use a joomla backend with template; my site everything is done in nano.

Our team coded a full-featured CMS from scratch using PHP and MySQL. Because we also use our website to manage membership and handle team events, we thought it would be useful to have a unified interface to perform all those tasks. Our CMS features a theming system, a posts/pages system, and a media gallery system (similar to WordPress). It can also manage events, orders, and member lists.

Nano? What Linux box are you using? Is it a school computer?

CHS Robotics currently uses a Wordpress site with a couple MediaWiki applications hiding in some subdirectories. We tried writing our own CMS earlier, but found it hard to maintain (webmasters keep graduating and going away). Wordpress is nice because it’s maintained by someone whose job is to maintain Wordpress for a very long time, but it’s hard to integrate it with some of the other applications we have and want. While I agree with some of the other mentors in that the students should understand what’s going on, a full featured and modular CMS isn’t a simple program to understand and maintain. Kudos to the teams that do make their sites from scratch an maintain it for more than four years!

We use Drupal.

Our new website that we made last year, as well as our newer new one for this year, were both made with Drupal. We previously used Wordpress, but found that we didn’t get all of the functionality that we wanted. After a bit of brainstorming, our website now has user accounts for team members, parents, and mentors. We have private news pages, private calendars, as well as calendars to sign up for work shifts and after school dinners that we offer. We have private rosters with contact information and sub-team lists. Our team is growing substantially, and we’re hoping that our updated website will help us to organize and manage it better.

I carry a laptop with me at school, and some of the school machines run linux, but only where I knew it would be an acceptable switch (am one of a few students who manage the computer labs and network at my school).

I custom code everything in Aptana.