Pros and Cons of Using Drupal to Create a Website for your Business
Website Hosting with Drupal
With all of the competition for attention on the world wide web (W3) it’s difficult to get anyone to notice your little, 10-page web site selling your hats imported all the way from Fort Worth, Texas. There are over a million hat sellers on line (go ahead, Google “hats for sale” to see what pops up) and if you’re thinking of launching a hat web site, you’ll be amazed at how many people never find you – even though YOUR hand-made hats from Fort Worth are the best made in all of Texas.
So, how can you capture the attention of site visitors? What do they want when they pop up on your web site? And how can you keep them on site long enough to buy a hat?
Configure your site in Drupal
It’s not as confusing as you might think. And the outcome will be a site that is easily navigated with correct HTML syntax that increases your chances of your site not only loading quickly and being aesthetically pleasing to your visitors, but Google will have no trouble indexing your pages. And for the majority of small business owners out there, advertising is not an option. So getting listed in Google and receiving organic traffic from Google is crucial to the survival of your business.
It is easy to get started with Drupal
Steps to get started with your website
- Click the “administer” link and then click “site configuration”. This is the site configuration page where we can modify aspects of our Drupal site.
- Click the “administration theme” link. This is the theme page where we can change the look of our website. Click the theme drop down menu and choose a new theme and then click “save configuration”. Then your theme will change. You can easily change back to the default theme, if you like.
- The “clean URLs” link will make your URLs more efficient for search engine indexing. This is a very important step because in the long run, you will want Google to see your website as well-configured and easy to index. Drupal makes it easy to create a Google-friendly site.
- The “date and time” link is the date and time and you can configure how those are displayed.
- The “error reporting link” allows you to customize the error reporting pages.
- The site information page is where you defined a name and slogan for your drupal site. Enter your name, your email address, your slogan and mission. This is helpful for visitors and search engines to get a feel for the overall mission of your website. Click “save configuration”
Avoid website traps
- Any SEO practice can be overdone and quickly detected by algorithm-driven alarm bells. However, by using Drupal to design your website, the probability of this occurring is minimized.
- Pages that require a log in (user names and password) can easily stymie a crawler. The search engine robot (also referred to as “bot” in the Internet world) may be able to enter the closed door without finding another link to the outside web. In fact, much of this keyword protected content may never be indexed and this is the meat and potatoes of the site.
- HTML Frames – Frames are design elements that enable site developers to display more than one web page in users browsers simultaneously. There are vertical frame sets and horizontal frame sets identified by the <frameset> tag. Bots can become trapped in frames, which are often deadens, not to humans but to bots. Visitors won’t necessarily interact with site frames. Crawlers will, and in that case, they enter but never leave and this page remains un indexed.
- Cookie-Restricted Pages – When you visit a website, you pick up a cookie in a short burst of code that contains on-site activity, remember my name on this computer information and other you-based data.
When visitors to your site show up, you may deposit your own cookie in a jar and a cookie that allows access to some pages but not to the for-pay-password-protected content. Again, these are one-way, dead ends for spiders who can get in but may not find a link out.
- URL Session IDs – Totally confusing to spiders and, in fact, including session IDs as part of the URL may actually hurt you in rankings. How? Each time the site is spidered a new URL is generated for that session. Each time, the bot indexes the new URL, which contains the same content as the URL with an earlier session number, your site is penalized for duplicate content. In fact, the inclusion of session IDs in the URL creates site entropy in ongoing, self-perpetuating disintegration until the site reaches inertia and stops moving at all. Session IDs in URLs not only traps spiders in a tangled web of what appears to be repetitious content, each time the site is indexed, the same complaint draws the same conclusion: lower and lower page rank. In this case, consider yourself lucky if the bot becomes site-bound. Drupal prevents this with “clean URLs” and, this means, you aren’t losing ground when promoting your website in an effort to gain traffic from Google.
Diagnose your Website
Google offers complete diagnostics as part of its Webmaster Tools features. You can view your site the way Google bots see it. Google will provide detailed stats on crawling activities over the lifetime of the website, and surprisingly, many sites have not been completely indexed because of errors detected by bots but undetected by site owners. If you haven’t run these analyses on your site, take some time today to do that.
Log on to your Google account, go to Webmaster Tools and click on Diagnostics. You’ll see an overview of crawling activity, a list of errors and problems encountered by Google bots (including the date the problem was first detected). Google also provides the latest results of its Content Analysis and Mobile Crawl for content intended specifically for use on mobile cell phones.
Advantages of Drupal
- Drupal has all the basic features a webmaster will need. It includes a set of standard features such as user account registration and maintenance, RSS-Feeds, menu management, system administration and page layout customization. All these basic features are sufficient to create a basic website, single or multi user blogs brochure ware, forums, community website and more.
- It has efficient building tools and templates. The content management system offers the basic building blocks of websites in a module styles format where content and rules can be created quickly. It has themes and templates that save you from starting from the scratch, no matter if you are building a simple site or a complex one. It also provides pre-defined configurations feature that help users to build a complex site rapidly. Thus it saves time to build in extra features.
- Flexible and efficient content creation is available including video, polls, user management, text etc.
- With the powerful advanced administrator controls, you have the option of setting ups new user accounts and permissions.
- Dynamic designs are easily created and although Drupal offers beautiful templates from which to choose, it also allows users to design their own dynamic designs. The content is organized easily and the can be categorized through path urls, custom lists, associate content and default content.
- With a vast array of plug-ins available on the Internet—over 7,000 plug-ins available—that help to boost the building capacities of a site.
- Collaborating with users and giving them the ability to contribute content is a big advantage of this content management system. The website administrator has the ability to create, view, publish, administer and otherwise control the social content published to the site.
- The tools provided make it easy to connect with your Internet audience. Drupal has tools like network integration, feeds, and search engine optimization tools etc that help you to connect with your viewers easily.
- We’ve left the best for last…. Drupal is free. It is included with most professional web hosting packages and installed with just a few clicks.
Disadvantages of Drupal
Although the power of this content management system is vast, some have commented that Drupal is not very user friendly. The learning curve is steep, but for professionals in the Internet industry, it is well worth the time invested in learning this powerhouse of Internet tools.
There can be only one search engine God, and it’s Google by a mile. Organic search engine traffic (i.e., traffic that is not paid for) changes everything for a small business – the business outlook, the sales, the incoming inquiries, so the way your sites are rated, ranked, and indexed in Google is imperative. And Drupal provides the means at which to achieve that.
So worry not. This is one content management system that has it all and will please the Google Gods.