How to Build a Web Portal

Web-portals can be easily built with free software; marketing is the most difficult!

Webportals provide the user diverse information in a unified way. Think "Yahoo" or "Google". There is consistent look and feel for different applications.

At the level which is usually attainable for the individual or small business, web-portals are usually niche or corporate.

Here is how to build your own web-portal, assuming that you are an individual or small business on a budget.

Step 1

Assess your goals. What kind of portal are you building? Will it be personal (like Yahoo), regional, or a hobby portal?

What features does your web-portal site need? How will you market it? Who is your target market? What are your skills as a website designer?

Common features of web portals include chat, classifieds, personal profiles, and photo galleries.

Step 2

Decide on which portal software to implement. Most likely, you will be looking into open source web-portal scripts. Major open-source web-portal scripts include DotNetNuke, UPortal, LifeRay, and Dolphin Community.

This can be confusing and overwhelming! The resources list at the bottom provides some good starting points.

Step 3

Upload the webportal software to your website and install it according to the script-specific directions. This is the part that requires mysql capabilities, as web-portals run on databases.

Step 4

Customize the web-portal's look and feel. Script-specific support forums can provide great advice and free templates for the web-portal software you've chosen to implement.

Step 5

Market your web-portal! This may be the most time consuming part, because website marketing is an ongoing and intensive process.

Advertise your web-portal on every niche site you come across, subscribe to traffic exchanges, and include a link to it as the signature of your email address.

If your portal includes community features such as forums, consider getting a few friends to act like enthusiastic users or make a few different user names to get the community participation rolling.

Things You'll Need

  • a domain name

  • web-hosting with mysql databases (usually standard)

  • intermediate to advanced website design skill

  • comfort with uploading files thru ftp and installing php scripts

Tip

Try installing a few different portals to test out the look and feel of each. When you find one you like most, delete everything and start over with that one installed. A factor in selecting your web-portal script should be community support. If your site malfunctions, you may have an impossible time finding help if you're running an obscure webportal program.

Warning

Do you have funds to host the site as it grows? As people begin using your site, it will consume more bandwidth and it will outgrow standard $10/month hosting.

resources