We are in the infant stages of creating a website that sells products and also has a forum. The site will cater to families touched by Autism. The idea is to offer a support forum where people can exchange information as well as offer and sell specialty products. To be honest, I am completely lost as to what platform to use. Do I use an all inclusive site like Volusion or Corecommerce even though neither mention forums or do should I use an off the shelf software like Portal Store? We do not have a huge budget so that is a factor as well.
Any suggestions whatsoever would be highly appreciated!
Hi CarliesHero. Welcome to SitePoint.
There are a lot of CMSs out there, both free and commercial, that can do this. Take an example like Drupal. It will have addons like ecommerce and a forum that you can build in. I don't use Drupal myself, but rather ExpressionEgnine, which costs a bit (around $300) but it's lovely to use and has a first-party forum addon and some excellent 3rd party ecommerce addons (the best being CartThrob). That's a very design-friendly option for you, as you don't need to be a programming aficionado to work with it and its code is very clean.
Another widely used free option would be WordPress, which has options for carts and forums. Probably not as easy to use, but WordPress has a lot of support.
I think it is better to integrate some good forum engine e.g. vBulletin with professional shopping cart system.
I am rather naive in this area. At the moment using 2 different platform for e commerce and forum. Using Phpbb 3 forum platform. Zencart for e commerce.
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