First, let’s quickly discuss what a CMS is: a Content Management System is a piece of software that is used to manage and create digital content. Essentially it’s an interface that allows you to easily add, create, and customize content, manage users, and provide a general organization for everything that your website holds. All CMS’s, like Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla essentially fill all these roles, but handle them in slightly different ways. Because of how these elements are handled on the backend of your site, people are typically drawn towards a particular CMS based on their skill sets. Many users who don’t have much or any web building experience will be using something like Wordpress, Wix or Squarespace, which can offer a very user friendly experience, and have a ‘pretty’ backend. Their downside is they also generally have sloppier code, making it more difficult for search engines to index them. On the other hand a CMS like Drupal, while still being user friendly, offers a much more powerful backend with very clean code. Since you yourself may never even touch this code, it may be easy to think ‘Why does it matter what my source code looks like? While it may not matter for you, it matters to search engines, like Google. The cleaner the code, the easier it is for Google to search through your site.
Let’s take a look at why you may want to consider using Drupal as your CMS for your up coming web development project:
Many Popular Websites Use Drupal
Although you should never make a decision purely based on popularity, seeing that a CMS is widely used typically shows it has a strong basis:
University of Colorado:
The University of Colorado used Drupal to create a full service website, with one of its primary functions being to give donors a better platform to learn about the many ways they can support the school, and ultimately donate. Within the first month of launching their new site, they saw an almost 70% increase in completion rates for donations! This means that most of their users that added a donation to their cart, actually followed through with it. This can likely be attributed to making the process easier and more streamlined.
Rainforest Alliance has a very large database, containing mostly written text with metadata tags associated with it. When rebuilding their website, they wanted to create a system that allowed users to more easily find content using these tags. Part of how this was accomplished was through a powerful Search API that allowed the system to show posts at the bottom of pages for ‘More Like This’ or ‘Related Content’. This type of feature makes it much easier for users to find content they would likely want to read, without having to look very hard for it.
Drupal Is Search Engine Friendly
Out of the box, development in Drupal is very search engine friendly. For example, at the bottom of a basic page it is very easy to add in your metadata, such as page descriptions and page titles, which when indexed will show up as the readable text. This may seem mundane to an average user, but to a search engine like Google, this type of attention to detail allows them to better see what your site's content is about, thus leading to more potential visitors on your website.
Drupal also has a fantastic taxonomy that allows users to quickly organize content and tag it with rich keywords. This type of tagging makes it not only easy for you to find your content while editing, but also for your users while navigating your site. This additionally allows search engines a great and quick overview on what content is on a given page.
There is also the ability to create custom content types with backend fields that can be displayed in a variety of ways. Let’s say for example you wanted to have a portfolio with pages that showed images of your work, a short description, a long description, and bullet points on their main features. Using Drupal to develop this, it would be very easy to make a content type for your ‘portfolio posts’ and set these fields, so when you need to make a post you simply plug everything in and the page would be automatically formatted! This is a significantly easier option than creating the page from scratch each time. Having a content type like this lowers the barrier for you to update your website more, and hence boosting you in search results. Regularly updating your content is a great form of search engine optimization!
Web Security Is Top Notch
Security on the web is becoming increasingly more and more important: hackers are constantly looking for new ways to break into websites to phish for information (sending out fake emails and pretending to be someone like your bank) or simply trying to get you to send them money in scams where they pretend you will make money from a 'business deal'. Because of this, having a website that is secure should be just as important to you as the content on it. Having your website get hacked could mean hours and thousands of dollars to clean up the mess, and potentially downtime.
Drupal is an open source software (meaning it is written by developers for free, and thus distributed for free), and has a huge community following it. Even the White House uses Drupal for their backend; could there really be a website better to show a high level of security? At their last reporting, Drupal has over 1,000,000 people in its community, weather as developers or users. With such a large number, the code and functionality of Drupal is under constant review, and patches for security are sent out on a regular basis.
There are also dedicated groups that are constantly working to update and upgrade security: The Drupal Security Team and Security Working Group. The Security Team specifically addresses security issues reported by users, they help developers of contributed modules with security concerns, and they write/update guides that help Drupal developers code more securely. This Security Team is also overseen by Security Working Group, who are a small team of security coders experts who work specially on the Drupal core to ensure its safety.
One of your main website goals should be to keep it secure, so you don't need to waste time and resources later down the road with cleaning it up.
General Ease Of Use
Drupal has an immense amount of power when it comes to building content types, and has great search engine optimization out of the box, which can be helpful for targeting specific cities such as ‘Denver’ or product types such as ‘lunch boxes’. That said, all of these technical roles are only enhanced by how easy Drupal is to use.
Even though many other builders such as Wordpress or Wix claim to be the easiest way to build a site, with a small amount of knowledge or training, Drupal is even easier:
With custom content types, making landing pages for social media marketing campaigns is a breeze.
Page builders allow you to easily create columns to organize your content and drop in written text or any other type of media such as an images or videos.
As your site grows, and so does your content, managing your media becomes crucial. Drupal makes this extremely easy with folders and subfolders, out of the box.
Having a responsive website for mobile devices is of the utmost importance, given the majority of web traffic comes from mobile phones. Drupal makes it very easy to design responsive websites so that mobile users have just as good of an experience as desktop users.
Multilingual functions are available and easy to implement. With so much of the web being accessed by users all over the world, having a website in multiple languages makes your site more likely to get world wide traffic.
Should You Use Drupal For You Business’s Website?
Choosing a content management system such as Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla can be a difficult decision, and likely one you will make while working with your local Denver web designer. That said, you should greatly consider not only the state in which your website will be when you launch, but also the future of it. Do you plan on selling products? Would you like to have a powerful and well organized system for documents or media that your users can access? These types of questions should be asked up front, so you can make the right choice in your content management system, as changing a CMS after the fact means rebuilding your website from the ground up. With that said, we hope this gave you some insight on what Drupal can do for you and how it can grow your business.