Using Drupal to Make a Lasting Impact With Any Site Experience
November 6, 2020
With countless content management systems on the market, offering features and services such as out-of-the-box modules, easy content migration and quicker time to market, choosing the right CMS can be a difficult choice. Not to mention, which platforms will hold up to the slick sales presentations and platform demos we see early on in our decision process.
Powerful, proprietary, enterprise CMS platforms offer enormous lists of features but when licensing, implementation, consulting and maintenance is factored, the price tag can be equally enormous. What’s more, many clients aren’t using the lion’s share of those features so, in a sense, they’re paying for bells & whistles they’ll never need or use.
In contrast, less expensive open-source platforms offer a vast array of customizable admin tools and modules. And, while the prospect of “free” tools and modules as well as the flexibility and scalability of open source is compelling, it does not come without its own price. Security, accessibility and maintenance of differing solutions often require clients to hire or re-focus their in-house development teams for support.
In Primacy’s experience working with clients to develop their web sites, Drupal is a preferred CMS that checks many of the boxes. Moreover, Primacy has developed ZenSource, a layer built on top of and integrated with Drupal that includes additional features that are designed from the ground-up with both marketers and developers’ in mind.
We developed a list of the common themes our clients must overcome project-to-project where Drupal and ZenSource are helping clients see success.
Your site can be hosted anywhere and developer support is easier to find
When it comes to hosting a Drupal website, the code base, content and functionality can be hosted anywhere. Whether you have your own servers internally, want to host with a third-party provider, or decide to move the site from one hosting environment to another, Drupal can support that portability.
Additionally, since Drupal is based on the Symfony framework and Twig templating engine, which are not unique to Drupal, it’s much easier for PHP developers to learn it. This also means Drupal specific developers are generally easier to find. It’s common for us to even co-develop and train client internal developers so they can maintain and enhance the site after going live.
When Primacy develops Drupal sites, the ZenSource code base is installed by default which means clients are getting the latest and greatest foundational code base on the latest available version of Drupal. It also means the Drupal modules have been vetted, tested and can scale for future version upgrades, making post go-live maintenance easier as well as more cost and time-efficient.
Drupal is secure and ZenSource helps future proof your site
Drupal by default provides access to regulated security patches, audits and reports. Drupal typically releases monthly core updates for bug fixes and will immediately release them for any critical vulnerabilities, unlike some open-source platforms such as WordPress which is less disciplined.
ZenSource offers a support team that monitors these updates and will automatically install them as well as test the site thereafter to ensure the updates don’t impact the site experience and its functionality. This makes upgrading the site to the latest version of Drupal far easier. Additionally, the ZenSource code base is maintained for WCAG Accessibility compliance and the platform is continuously evolving as security standards evolve, including GDPR needs.
The ability to manage multiple sites with numerous content authors
Drupal has made great strides with the ability to manage large amounts of content and its authors. Moreover, the ability to manage multiple sites and a variety of permissions and publishing workflows is possible within one admin instance of Drupal. Users can be given access to only see and edit their site, or specific content within their site and certain features of that content can also be hidden as needed. Not to mention, users can submit changes for approval and publish or to facilitate a feedback loop.
This has become very useful in terms of sharing content and functionality between sites while also maintaining unique creative. A service line or department subsite can have its own creative look and feel while sharing content and leveraging functionality from the bigger marketing ecosystem for example.
ZenSource and Primacy have also worked to create a structured process and resource materials for onboarding clients on a new build. Whether it’s a migration of an existing site to Drupal or a full redesign, we develop training plans with a mix of in-person workshops and remote training sessions. With custom build reference materials to train users all the way from admins down to users who may only edit one piece of content, ZenSource has also optimized the Drupal admin to be incredibly easy to use and is continuously evolving to reduce friction when creating content.
ZenSource modules and speed to market
While Drupal has a large and active community creating new modules and features, ZenSource has developed a set of “UX Modules” for functionality such as page layouts, content widgets including image sliders and accordions to out of the box functionality for items such as site search, finder tools, news and events. From the simplest to the more complex web sites, the ZenSource architecture has been optimized intentionally to allow for clients to spend their time and budget for the things that matter the most. For instance, when features such as an easy-to-use, best-in-class site search module is a drag and drop into a ZenSource build, that means budget can be used for things such as new modules, brand or content development, not to mention it cuts down development time and gets sites in market faster.