« on: July 06, 2014, 09:14:17 AM »
I agree with Jon. Wordpress is probably your best bet. Easy to use and very flexible. (Canon Rumors uses WordPress the last I checked).
As far as hosting goes, I would strongly endorse Dreamhost. I've used them for years and have always been pleased and impressed with their service. They are a massive server farm, but treat their customers like a small firm. Every time I've had a problem (which is rare) they responded quickly and with clear instructions (usually getting back to me within an hour.)
They are inexpensive (I think I pay less than $200 a year for hosting), very reliable (I don't recall ever having a site go down), responsive and helpful. They will automatically upgrade your site to the latest versions of Wordpress and PHP if you request that service (free), their one-click installation of Wordpress and other content management systems (Joomla, Drupal etc.) gets you up and running without having to do much of anything, they will take care of all the necessary domain registration for you, including keeping your domain registration current.
They also offer free sub-domains, which could be a nice option for a club. This would allow you to register as "ourphotoclub.com" and then later, if you choose individual members could have their own sites as johndoephotography.ourclub.com. Members can use the same Wordpress theme or pick their own themes. In fact, with a subdomain, one member could even be on Joomla or Drupal, while the rest of the club is on Wordpress.
As Jon said, there are tons of free Wordpress themes and if you can't find something for free, there are lots of companies that sell themes (RocketTheme being one I've used in the past). The way most of these services work is you buy a "membership" for maybe a month or so and have the option to download as many themes as you want. Once you've downloaded them, the themes are yours to use forever, so it's not an ongoing expense.
I built my personal site in Dreamweaver, because I really wanted to learn the program. But, if that hadn't been the case, I would have used Wordpress (I do use Wordpress for my blog, but like most bloggers I'm very bad about keeping it current).
Simplified glossary in case you need it. (Warning to Geeks, this is simplified, so let's not quibble over insignificant points)
PHP -- that's the open-source software that is "under the hood" of Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.
Wordpress -- That's the content management system. All the systems work basically the same. Instead of adding content directly to the webpage, you add it through a dialogue box (just as you do on this forum).
Themes -- These control the "look" of your content. They provide the shell that it presents to the world.
Plug-ins -- Specific enhancements that you can add to your basic theme, such as a slide show, gallery, contact form, order form, etc. etc.
Hosting Service -- Such as Dreamhost. These are the companies that own the servers that connect to the web and put your site on the web so the world can access it.