Why you should choose Drupal by gyvwpgjmtx


									By Gareth Davies Developing a website on the Drupal Content Management System
(CMS) not only means professional, high-quality online products, but it also
addresses some very salient business issues when conducting business online. A
website built with Drupal is easily updateable, flexible (both in terms of functionality
and aesthetics), expandable and wonderfully portable. If ever there were good reasons
for outlaying slightly more money at the beginning of the process of getting an
internet presence developed, those would certainly be in the top five. Before we
launch into why Drupal would be good for your business, it 鈥檚 probably a good
idea to explain quickly what Drupal is for those who don 鈥檛 know. Warning! One
absolutely essential paragraph of geek-speak ahead. Just one. Drupal is a content
management system built on a php-template foundation and running off a mySQL
database setup that is used to build very complex websites. Websites that can be easily
updated and manipulated to provide many different types of online systems. It
natively provides the resource to create blog systems, user forums, online catalogues
and many other pieces of functionality essential for a modern website. Right, that 鈥
檚 done and out of the way and hopefully you 鈥檙 e still with me. However, the
above is an important point because it underlies one of Drupal 鈥檚 main attractions.
Because of how it 鈥檚 built, Drupal is a completely open-source project. This means
it is free-to-download, free-to-install, and has a large community of like-minded
people to keep it continually supported and updated. 鈥淔 ree,鈥?I hear you say. 鈥
淲 ell, if it 鈥檚 so free, how come I have to pay you for it?鈥? That is a fair point,
but the problem comes in when developing a website using Drupal. While from a
website user or administrator point of view, it is wonderfully easy to use, there is a
whole lot of development work that goes into getting to that point. Because of its
innate flexibility, you can do anything with Drupal. This flexibility, however, is a
double-edged sword because with this ultimate freedom comes the need for the
developer to do a lot of work to plan, develop, design and deploy a Drupal website.
This is what takes the time and money to achieve a really professional website. Once
it 鈥檚 done, however, a Drupal website provides a level of control and sophistication
that would take at least three times the amount of resources and budget to achieve
without it. Here are a few good reasons why Drupal makes sense for your business.
That 鈥檚 MINE! Gimme! One of Drupal 鈥檚 main attractions is the fact that it can
be customised to allow a business to update their website once it is built. This is an
incredibly important feature. Let 鈥檚 face it, the internet is here to stay and it works
extremely well. And as a tool for business promotion, it has become invaluable and
very few companies can afford to be without some form of online presence these days.
However, there 鈥檚 a problem. To get online in any proper, professional way, you
need to either hire your own pet web geek to sit in his little darkened cave all day
doing unimaginable things to computers and demand a large pay cheque for the
privilege. Or you can outsource: walk into a big flashy office where guys in jeans and
funky t-shirts blind you with science and how you just HAVE to have this, that and
the other 鈥淪 olution 鈥? Pretty soon, you realise exactly how they got the flashy
office in the first place when your bill for the first six months of development and
support comes in. Both of these options have been tried and found to fall dramatically
short of the needs of a modern business. Not only is it an ongoing high-cost exercise,
but you end up signing a very important chunk of your business over to someone else
to manage, and end up not having terribly much control over it. It 鈥檚 like chopping
an arm off, giving it to somebody else to use for you, and then having to pay them
whenever you want to pick something up. A Drupal system allows you to log into a
fully secure administration system right there on your website, and edit your content
directly in a word processor like environment. You can have complete control over
how your website lives and breathes. It is, after all, part of your business, and you
know best how your business operates and should have control over that. I didn 鈥檛
know there was a contortionist in the room 鈥? Another attractive aspect of Drupal is
its flexibility. Basing a website on Drupal means that your website can look like
anything you want, and do anything you want. How it looks These days, it is getting
more and more important to design your website well. Users of the internet are getting
increasingly sophisticated in how they want to access and consume information.
There is an entire discipline devoted to the usability of a website: how, where and why
a user will look for information. Drupal 鈥檚 ability to be incredibly flexible in how a
website looks, goes a long way to being able to provide for this kind of usability
requirement. How it works As important as the design of a website is the functionality
it provides. The great thing about Drupal 鈥檚 open source basis is that, not only is its
basic services flexible enough to fulfill many different business needs, but there are
many people writing add-on modules for it all the time that extend this functionality.
For instance, it is possible to deliver a website with Drupal that will show off the
conference organising ability of an organisation through client references, photo
galleries and a blog service. At the same time, it is possible for another website, built
on the same Drupal installation, to deliver up-to-the minute information about the
activities of a school. Drupal is flexible enough to meet almost any business need
right out of the box. Plug and play. Plug and play. And 鈥?Plug and play. A useful
feature of Drupal is that it is very easy to expand your website. Once the design is in
place and the initial functionality has been decided upon and built, it is relatively
quick and easy to add more options to a website, like a latest news box, or a contact us
email form. Using a different system, this would demand a lot of fresh programming
and design time which means significant extra cost. Well, it 鈥檚 like a caravan 鈥? I
鈥檝 e seen a few businesses in horrible situations where their current providers won
鈥檛 release their content to them. This is an unfortunate side effect of using content
providers that have their own proprietary content management systems. Sometimes,
the unscrupulous organisations (yes, you know who you are!) will hold onto the client
鈥檚 business because they know it would be too expensive to set up elsewhere,
making sure that they continue to get their monthly maintenance fees and effectively
holding the client hostage. One of the great advantages of the general nature of Drupal
is that it is completely portable. In an hour, a business can be provided with all the
information they need to set up their website again with a different provider at no
extra cost. This is something that should be emphasised: you 鈥檙 e not buying into
anything proprietary. You should be perfectly able to pack up and move your website
somewhere else and do this with ease and at no extra cost. After all, it is YOUR
website. So it makes sense It may prove to be relatively expensive to embark on a
Drupal website project, but hopefully I 鈥檝 e also illustrated how it 鈥檚 possible to
save money in the long run. The user-centric nature of the package enables your
company to take back content control and not have to enter into expensive
maintenance contracts just to update a news box. Drupal 鈥檚 flexibility allows you
to get the job done properly the first time so that you can deliver the right content to
the right people in the right way. Not only that, should you decide that you need
something added to your website, it is a lot less expensive to do so than with a
custom-built system. Finally, you can pick it up and take it with you without having to
worry about redoing the whole thing over again should you wish to change providers.
From a business perspective, using Drupal for your website is not only cost effective;
it just makes good business sense.
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