Team Websites: What do you look for?

I’m in the process of redesigning my club’s website, and it crossed my mind that asking on the forum would be a good way to streamline my website’s content. Specifically, I’d like to know what people look for when they visit another team’s website.

Please respond to the poll, and share any specific thoughts in the thread! :slight_smile:


Well don’t forget that when we (robotics people) look at a website, it’s different than a parent or a potential sponsor. I know all I care about is what the robot looks like (past and present), but it’s better for someone else to see how you’re involved in the community or whatnot.

Meaningful technical content!!!

I enjoy go to a team’s website and learning all about their design process and the robot they produced. A great example of this is FRC Team 1114, Simbotics. (Website here)

Also, in-depth reports or blog posts on the team’s competitions or activities are welcome. I find it annoying to read a blog post like “our robot competed at the blah blah regional” and does not further elaborate.

(My apologies for any spelling/ grammar mistakes or rude/ stupid comments. I’m writing this later at night than I should.)

This is a great topic! I look forward to seeing the results so I can add more info to our website!

I look for teams sponsors, current/past robots, and more info about their club when I go to peoples websites.

I totally agree, and this site is awesome! Unfortunately, it seems as though the link to their cleansweep page is broken. Still a very cool site though! Not overly complex, easy to navigate, and very clean cut.

We are looking to start designing a better website than what we currently have. Does anyone have any suggestions for software?

You should try to learn some HTML so you can actually understand what is happening (assuming you don’t know some HTML already). As for programs to help you, I have heard that a program called bootstrap is really good for making websiites, but I’ve never used it. A lot of people also like to use Adobe Dreamweaver because it makes it much more easy to start a webpage. It is a bit finicky though, so, as stated, it is important to know a little html at the very least. If you don’t know any, I recommend Anewboston’s tutorials an youtube. Good luck!:smiley:

As 944_Austin said, you should certainly know some HTML, and I would add CSS to the list.

My team’s website has gone through 3 revisions: When I was in FLL, I wrote the whole site by hand using HTML and CSS, and uploaded with separate FTP software from CoffeeCup. This got “old” really quickly–writing everything from scratch is not efficient. However, it was cheap: I used Notepad (free), and ~$40 software from (I later found FileZilla, which is free, that does the same as the $40 software.)

The second revision was still while I was in FLL, but a bit later. I started using Microsoft Expression Web (professional grade software, but can be downloaded (legally) free-of-charge from Microsoft’s Dreamspark website with a *.edu email address). This gave me a template to use, but editing the site was still in the mindset of building everything from scratch.

Our newly redesigned site (which is now live, but still needs some tweaking, e.g. adding a “Current Robot” tab, etc) is being made in Wordpress. I am enjoying not worrying about every little detail of HTML/CSS/PHP code, and it’s really easy for me to enable other team members to edit the site.

So, in short, the best option I’ve found thus far is to use Wordpress for your site. Pick a template, and then use some basic HTML/PHP/CSS to modify the template to your needs. Unless I miss my guess, the Cheesy Poof’s website is a Wordpress site–Wordpress is not limited to only blog-style sites.


+1 to the Wordpress, it is very simple. Our website is wordpress, while it still needs a lot of work Wordpress gets you up and going pretty quick.

I actually don’t like Wordpress due to my lack of complete understanding of what is happening.

Our website (which obviously needs some updating, haha), was done completely with Notepad++ in a few hours, nothing too fancy. There is honestly no need for fancy software like Dreamweaver or website engines like Wordpress if you know what you’re doing.

Impressive work for being done in Notepad++ !

I’m impressed.

I also agree–Wordpress is unbearable if you must control every nitty-gritty detail. However, I’m experimenting with Wordpress partially for my own growth as a programmer–it’s important to be able to use/reverse-engineer code that you did not write yourself…

I’m currently the lead programmer on an NDA project.

They’re paying me $20,000 for the project (biggest (and most boring) thing my name has ever been on by far) and I’m currently looking at about 2,000 lines of my own PHP/HTML/CSS/JS in Notepad++.

I really can’t say more, but my point is simple … programming is programming, you don’t need big tools like Dreamweaver or Visual Studio to write code although they can help.

I learned PHP using Notepad (real notepad, not np++) so this is the way that I am used to writing PHP, so this is how I do it. All I need is a text editor and a good browser.

So meh, give a good mechanic a wrench and he can do all sorts of neat things or something like that.

I vote the wordpress route and it’s not just beacuse it’s what we use.

Not everyone will be programming the site, but the PHP engine is pretty flexible for that subset of users.

The main purpose of the public website is getting content out there for others to see about the club and for members to get easily. This is one of the primary aspects you want to cover for a robotics club website and WordPress allows for some pretty amazing things without having every contributor need to program. Content management is a key for an informational web site with many contributors.

Adding in plugins for editor reviews and such is a huge plus too (for free I might add). Starting with a base theme and gong from there is a great learning experience for not only the HTML/CSS experiences but the usage of powerful JQuery/YUI libraries go a long way to making a great site. (Really good themes can be bought for $50 or so too, many are free).

Managing lots of images and media within wordpress is a big minus in my mind though. Someone has to come up with a better media management for this platform. Externally hosted images for non-core site images is the way to go.

Other downsides to WordPress are it is not a code repository like a github, it is not a collaboration tool, and it needs care and feeding for all those add ins you installed willy nilly (many of which will conflict at some point and tend to slow down the site as more are added). Security holes have been found on Word Press and as with anything need to be closed.

The under the covers of Word Press are out there and I can dig up some if anyone wants. Then you can really trick the Wordpress system out to what you want it to do and not be as reliant on the single view of a “Post” they use and separate into pages and posts.

Now if we can just get the time to write a few meaningful things for the site…

I love to see competition/match videos as they show the team/robot in action. Reveal videos are also nice, and vids can show other teams and sponsors exactly what your team is doing.

Sack Attack was our first competition. This was our first year in vex. Our web site is about 6 months old. Our first vex competition, regionals in Arkansas,. We recived the excellence award. Later going to World Championships in placing 18 in the Math division. team 5691B and team 5691W (