ENTERMEDIA has built a lot of websites since 2004 for clients of all types. Over the years we’ve gravitated to build practically every site with Drupal. Why is that?
Drupal is flexible.
From it’s inception Drupal was built with open source in mind. The founder of Drupal was smart enough to realize that predicting where the web will go in the future is a fool’s game, so let’s build it to be as flexible and modular as possible so it can adapt to each clients needs as well as any future developments. Remove as many constraints as possible at the outset. What this means is that you need to understand best practices for development to contribute modules that the rest of the community will endorse and adopt, but isn’t that how it should be? For instance, old site planning methodologies such as the waterfall project management approach, were concerned with concepts like knowing exactly where the main navigation menu was going to be before you would write a single line of code. With Drupal, if you decide that the main nav needs to move to the right side or left side instead of across the top you can make that change in a matter of minutes, so long as you haven’t styled the whole site prematurely.
Drupal is modular.
The devil is in the details when you are developing a website. Unfortunately, the majority of projects do not achieve the initial goal of building the entire scope on-time and on-budget. That’s because unless the developer has previously coded something exactly like what you need now, he’s having to estimate how he can get the job done on assumptions alone. Building every simple thing from scratch is hard.
But with Drupal, ‘there’s a module for that.
Like the Apple store’s claim ‘there’s an app for that’, there’s most likely a feature rich Drupal module that does what you need and can be configured for your exact requirements. If not, there will be soon. There are over 3500 modules that can be used in Drupal to accomplish just about any requirement you can imagine. Many times multiple modules are introduced that do the same thing, but over time the best solution emerges and the community gets behind it. Once a module is adopted and accepted by the Drupal community it will be continuously tested and refined to fix any issues or add any ‘got-to-have’ features due to it’s vast number of implementations and specific feedback. Developers help developers figure out these problems, and then the rest of us get to share in their solutions.
Drupal is scalable.
Drupal works with practically any type of database, so it doesn’t matter if you’re using an enterprise level Oracle databases or a free MySQL database. Without getting too technical, what you need to know is that Drupal can scale to meet your needs, but you’ll need an experienced Systems/Server Admin toproperly guide you to the right hosting a server setup. The greater point is that Drupal can scale as well as any other technology. The best proof is the number of large web properties who are successfully using Drupal, such as the economist. You can find more example drupal sites on the founder of Drupal’s blog.
Drupal is SEO friendly.
SEO is largely misunderstood from our experience. Drupal makes it easy for you to make your site follow best SEO practices. It also allows you to write, publish, and correct problems with your site content that the search engines might not like with a little training and without needing a web developer to be involved. Drupal does a lot of things automatically, such as provide strong internal link structure to make sure each link to pages within the site are tagged in the same way. Drupal does not do SEO for you, however. For more information on what you should be doing to practice good SEO, start here for a simple overview, but go here if you’re looking for professional help.
Drupal is free.
Drupal is open source and is therefore free of charge. You will need to pay for hosting if you don’t have your own web server, and if you’re not a web developer you will probably need to hire a good team if you’re hoping for something professional. However, you won’t have to pay Microsoft liscensing fees, the hosting for open source costs less, and the majority of the web is open source, so there are plenty of capable people in this world who can support a Drupal based website.
Drupal has momentum.
Like most movements, what’s critical to the success of Drupal is the huge adoption rate of the development community and the business community in general. It is one of the greatest crowd-sourcing success stories around. It is this community that will decide if Drupal deserves it’s success, if it should continue on, and for how long. The Drupal 7 User Experience Project is a good reason to believe that Drupal will continue to be the best available option for years to come. Already, some very big and important websites are built with Drupal, like:
Drupal is simply an efficient tool.
Drupal is a content management system that allows non-technical site owners to manage their own content. It’s open source, which means it’s free as well. It still requires a high level of experience and expertise in web development practices and principles to build a professional website, which is not free unless you are one of those people. Drupal is simply the tool that allows you to do great things like build an online storefront, event listings, a social community, blog, photo slideshow, multimedia video player, forums, discussion groups, etc.