If your business has previously used a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla and wondered, can I do better? What am I missing out on? Fortunately, one of the most flexible and functional CMS solutions recently launched its newest version. It’s Drupal 7 and there’s a whole lot of chatter about its powerful mix of business tools and easy maintenance.
Drupal is an open source CMS that gives its users a large degree of flexibility to modify, share, and distribute content (text, video, data, business services). Still, Drupal is more than a CMS. It is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that is perfect for a small business and scalable for any large enterprise. And don’t take our word for it either, check out why it was rated InfoWorld 2011 Top Pick.
We’ve used a number of content management systems in the past, and while none are perfect, some do the job better than others. Drupal lets us stay ahead of the game and take advantage of the ever-evolving community platform that allows millions of contributors to update it constantly. Consider this — somewhere in the world, Drupal is being updated every second. Like Wikipedia, it’s driven by people that care about how it functions and operates, rather than how it’s marketed. It’s the biggest open secret in web development.
1. Drupal Is Free
Many proprietary CMS systems charge significant monthly or yearly fees as part of the licensing agreement to use the software. For many small business web design needs, those costs are prohibitive and sometimes not fully disclosed during the sale. In addition, the subscription costs can range from a couple hundred dollars a year to sometimes tens of thousands of dollars a month for a large implementation. Drupal, on the other hand, is entirely free and doesn’t have any hidden fees. The advantages are staggering when you take a look at the life cycle of a typical website, which typically can be three to six years.
2. Drupal Has High Profile Clients
Some of Drupal’s highest profile customers include:
The White House
Wake Forest University
3. Drupal Has Extensive API Support
When deciding on a CMS, it’s crucial to know what kind of out-of-box support is available from third party applications for that specific tool. Today’s savvy businesses run their organizations with the assistance of API’s that let two programs talk to each other. Drupal has extensive API support including:
Salesforce Drupal API
YouTube Drupal AP I
Google Apps API
Sugar CRM for Drupal API
Constant Contact Drupal API
Facebook Drupal API
Twitter Drupal API
Ubercart Drupal API
Google Analytics Drupal API
AdSense Drupal API
Mailchimp Drupal API
Access more here drupal.org
There are thousands of modules available on Drupal.org and Drupal’s extremely well-documented API lets you create your own custom modules.
4. Drupal Web Design Flexibility
Unlike many website content management systems that offer narrow frameworks and custom coding, Drupal comes out of the box ready to showcase your brand in an interactive, highly-useable environment. You can design (or “theme” in Drupal speak) your Drupal web design to match your business needs without many of the restrictions of previous CMS tools.
5. Drupal Is Search Engine Friendly
Once your website is live, search engine optimization (SEO) plays an integral part of your business’s online marketing strategy. Drupal, created as a community platform, was inherently designed to be SEO friendly. In fact, it has a Ph.D. in SEO. Why make such a bold claim? Drupal has enormous flexibility to display content in a way search engines just can’t resist. Some Drupal SEO Modules include:
Page Title: Enhance the HTML page header tag that shows up as
Nodewords: A Drupal SEO module that lets you add meta tags (either manually or automatically to your website).
Related Content: Related content lets site admins control which page content should be displayed along with the page content you’re currently viewing. This powerful module lets you distribute content in a more search engine friendly manner.
Pathauto: Lets you automatically generate URLS for various nodes and taxonomies. Pathauto allows you to control the pattern by which URLS are displayed, giving your content an SEO-friendly push.
Sitemap & XML Sitemap: Drupal lets you easily deploy and theme both html and RSS sitemaps. You can customize your feeds based on specific categories or block undesirable content from being displayed in your sitemap.
Redirects: With Drupal you can easily redirect a URL from one path to another URL path. This helps with what is called Link Equity or preserving the original page names while only displaying the most current version on your site.
6. Drupal Is Mobile Ready
Chances are your customers are using smart phones like the iPhones or Androids to view your site on the go. They also may be lounging at home or on the company couch with an iPad. If your site is built with Drupal, then you’re in luck because Drupal web design can appear just as good on your iPad as it does at your desk. Many small business Drupal websites rely on this feature to bring in customers and generate more leads. It’s also a large time and cost saver when you don’t have to shell out a small fortune in addition to monthly costs many mobile service providers charge.
7. Drupal Development Is Fast
Time is often a great indicator of how much something may cost, especially if you’re paying for a team of marketing strategists, web designers, and developers. Fortunately, deploying an external-facing Drupal web design can only take a matter of hours. And you don’t need to start from scratch every time you want to deploy a new site. Drupal installs its core right out the box and then establishes an easy-to-use platform to make visual, content, and module updates and third party integrations.