Drupal is a great CMS for Mid-level Web Designers
December 12, 2014
Drupal is a great CMS for Mid-level Web Designers
Score 8 out of 10
- Custom Breadcrumbs, File Force, Nice Menus, Page Title, Site Map, Search 404, Quick Tabs, Path Redirect, Google Analytics, Panels, Boost, Restricted Search, CAPTCHA, Views, Webforms
Overall Satisfaction with Drupal
My company uses Drupal as the main CMS for our website. We originally had a 3rd party build out the template and CSS for our site and now we just maintain the website and continually make updates to the content and graphics. We have 5 users setup but I am the primary user. Drupal makes it quick and easy to make updates to the website without needing to know a lot about coding.
- WYSIWYG - Drupal has a very simple interface when it comes to making changes to existing pages. All the tools you need to build out all the content on a page are right there and there really isn't anything missing from the tool set. If something is missing you can easily switch to the HTML view and manually make your changes and then preview them before saving/publishing the page.
- Modules - I'm not sure if having a lot of modules installed is good or bad for performance reasons, but we have a lot installed because they make life easier when I'm trying to do certain things on our website, like for instance, restricting the search box to only certain types of content or nodes. Little things like this would be really difficult to implement if I were manually coding the website.
- Blocks - Drupal Blocks are great. They are an easy way to add content areas to different locations on your page. We use them for sidebar content, content above or below webforms, and for our footer content. You can make an endless amount of blocks and specify the exact pages they should be visible on or even if they should be on every page. We do a lot of this where we have for example a industry specific case study, I then make the block visible in our sidebar on every page that has something to do with that specific industry.
- Revisions - Every time I update content on a page I checkmark the new revision box. This makes a archive of the page and if I want to roll back a version of the page it's a simple one click. You can have unlimited revisions and go back to any saved revision point.
- Updating - I'm sure everyone's install and theme for their Drupal site is different, but with ours we are stuck at Drupal version 6 (3-4 years outdated now). If we try to upgrade to Drupal version 7 our entire site breaks, like BSOD breaks. I don't really know if we are missing anything from not having version 7 but I always like to have the latest and greatest. So for now we are stuck at version 6 until we decide to completely rebuild our site on version 7+.
- Could be smarter - I wish Drupal would be smarter in the aspect of knowing correct coding languages and styles and If I were to update a page using bad code or something that just doesn't make sense code wise or will break things it should prompt you before saving and state any problem areas. I use SendMyAd for different magazine vendors and it checks the print Ads I upload for problem areas and then notifies me what they are before I submit the Ad. Something like this in Drupal would be awesome!
- Views - Plain and simple Views are confusing. We had them setup by a 3rd party and I can not figure out how to edit them or add others.
- CSS - Our theme was customized by a 3rd party and there are random CSS files everywhere that sometimes need to be updated outside of Drupal which makes things confusing. There might be a solution for this already but we do not have it. I would like one simple module in Drupal for CSS where I can see and edit all code.
- I would say Drupal has been positive for us. It's really only our 2nd website ever. Our first was very generic and manually created in HTML.
- It's hard to point out any ROI when Drupal is free. There is obviously the time spent by myself and the 3rd party we hired. Without knowing the numbers we have definitely made more in revenue from leads from our website than the cost of the 3rd party and my salary. So yes, there is positive ROI.
- Lead conversion and customer service have to do with the content you build on your page and how effective it is, Drupal really has nothing to do with positively or negatively affecting that.
I really like Drupal, and besides the one major issue with not being able to update from version 6 to version 7 and I am happy to continuing using it. Hopefully as time goes on they will make it easier to upgrade or provide better tools for mid-level web designers like myself to build out new sites without the help of expensive 3rd party's.
I would say for people with little to no experience that Drupal would be difficult to initially install and build out. If you have mid-range experience with web coding/HTML than working with Drupal is fairly easy. If you have a lot of experience with web coding then I would think Drupal probably seems limited and it's easier to do everything manually.
For the most part Drupal is very easy to use and has a fairly simple interface. Once you've worked in Drupal for a few months I would imagine that it's very easy for most people to pick up. I've been using Drupal for about 5 years now and everything is simple to me now.
Like to use
Easy to use
Feel confident using
Requires technical support
Lots to learn
- Creating pages / nodes
- Creating revisions of pages so you can revert back later if needed
- Customizing everything on a single page - title, keywords, H1 tags, etc.
- Upgrading versions
- Installing Modules
- Editing the theme's CSS