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Also, I'm not looking to show all the articles in reverse chronological order, so I don't think I need to incorporate a blog into my website. From what I understand, that can be somewhat difficult.
Yes, you will have to spend a couple of days learning Perl or PHP, but I think it's worth it. Once you know these languages you can do all kinds of things. I wrote an auction system to auction off my adspace, a mailing list manager, a logfile viewer, and a a search-and-replace thingie so I can update all my files on the server at once. It opens a lot of doors.
You don't need to post the articles in reverse chron order. You can post them in whatever order you like with a bit of tweaking. Wordpress will do this all day long once you figure out the control panel.
Way easier to figure out wordpress than to build that from scratch.
Wordpress is probably the world's biggest CMS these days, so the everyone else says in fact WP is the way to go - it will certainly do everything the OP is looking for, and the rest of the world finds it OK to work with.
Roll your own in this case provides little added benefit, and no noticeable benefit. Confusing and annoying is a matter of opinion, not shared by the masses and as for the resources part, that's really not an issue in most cases and certainly not for someone starting out. That's something you fix later, if necessary.
Rolling my own provides little added benefit?! It's a **massive** benefit to me that I don't have to convert my whole site to WordPress just to allow commenting on the articles! I can drop in just the add-a-comment feature at the bottom of my articles and be done with it. Converting my sites to WordPress would be an unbelievable chore.
And like I said, I think there's value in learning how to do the code yourself, since it opens up a world of possibilities. It's the difference between asking someone to use a screwdriver for you every time you need something screwed, or learning how to use one yourself so you're self-sufficient. The first might be faster for that particular problem, but the latter provides the long-term benefits.
Anyway, if someone doesn't mind converting their whole site to a blog like WordPress (a big if), then that's definitely a solution. There's probably a middle ground, some off-the-shelf script that lets you add comments to articles without having to convert your whole site, but if there is I don't know about it.
One question I have: now that I have the comments structure in place, I would like to tweak the design of it. Is that just a matter of using CSS? Or is there something else I would need?
And I agree MBJ's comment about WP consensus - seems like there's plenty of folks on both sides of the fence in that debate.