Portals are an important tool in organizing online communities on the internet. Not surprisingly, not all communities are the same, they have different needs, and therefore need custom tailored solutions.
Many of the small scale communities with a few thousand continous users can be served by out of the box software available on the web, or by modifying them to an extent, However for large scale enterprises custom programming is almost mandatory. The fact that big scale communities expect top tier traffic and phenomenonal amount of users makes having a customized approach, a necessity. It is also highly frequent that a particular business model a certain portal is using may necessitate custom development.
Because of NDAs, we are not able to list or disclose details of projects we built under contract to clients. However we can use a a portal we have built for our own hobby purposes as an example :
WebGeekWorld is a a few months old web resources community portal that combines a full fledged categorization system managing a big database of script resources. It has login integration with phpbb forum software, and additional functions created for a portalwide contributor banner rewards system. This system allows contributors to earn credits for submitting items to the database, and in turn they can show their banners in an elaborate, custom coded in-site banner rotation system.
Major aim of this project was to provide an integration between a big developer resources directory with a community forum.
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This required coding and integration 2 main features - a resource directory and a community interface. Though directory software exist on the web, they are not specialized and task oriented. Therefore we coded a full fledged directory system that would allow speedy searches from resources in the database. Of course, the database needs to be scalable in this, as there is no practical limit to the ever increasing amount of development resources on the web. As it stands now, the database contains slightly over 10k resource items, more possibly to come.
Another necessity was implementation of a feature that would encourage the members to contribute resources to the site. The method found for this was implementation of a banner system that would allow members to show their banners (in Google Adwords style) according to the points they earn from resource submissions. Currently, the system assigns every member a banner upon registration. When a member submits any resource and resource gets approved, they are credited with a certain amount of cash. This cash then can be used to show banners site wide, each click (unique) on their banners deducting a defined amount of credits. Naturally a banner management system to approve, disapprove, rotate banners and establish links inbetween the approved/disapproved resources in the directory and individual member banners had to be programmed.
Forums are an important feature in almost all developer communities, therefore a forum feature implementation was inevitable. Given the short time allocated to this project, we have chosen to use phpbb forum software, and modify it to work with our needs, rather than programming a new, from scratch forum. phpbb is one of the most popular choices for integration with any other software, highly modifiable, highly modular, and has neat object oriented code.
Results were satisfactory. We have implemented a login integration in between directory and phpbb, and partially used phpbb's permissioning and admin system on the directory, while adding in our special functions. Additional functions to link directory content to newly created forum posts in support section were also programmed - when a new resource is approved, system now automatically creates support forum posts and links them to and from the directory details pages. Website design was also templated into phpbb.
Another important run was on SEO. Directory part of the site was programmed to create custom meta title, description and keywords for all individual resource dynamically. This, greatly helped in search engine rankings, and despite the site is 2.5 months old and no marketing was done on it, it has a Google Pagerank of 3. Quite decent, since after Google's penalizing of link directories 3-4 months ago, a general drop in Pagerank averages web wide was experienced, and now a Pagerank of 5 fetches quite decent numbers of visitors from searches. WebGeekWorld currently has average of 800 daily absolute unique visitors.
This is just an example of speedy portal implementation for average needs. As mentioned before, each portal has their own characteristic, and requires an unique approach. You may want to contact us > here < to have a project analysis done, before placing a quote request.