Blog Entry

10 Fantastic Features of Drupal

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Drupal Geeks uses Drupal for all professional websites and content management system implementations. The Drupal CMS has existed since 2001 and has evolved into a robust and flexible system, used for sites like Whitehouse.gov and FedEx. There are many advantages to using Drupal to run your website and online business; here are ten that we feel are especially important.

10. Content Types
With professional Drupal implementation, your website can house essentially unlimited classes of content. The default Drupal installation includes pages, blogs, and polls just to name a few. We can then add a variety of modules, both existing and custom, that will allow for virtually any type of content that a site might need. For instance, if we install ecommerce we now have a ”products” category. We can then create different product classes and content types for retailers who offer a wide variety of merchandise and services.

9. Social Platform Functions
Strangely enough, Drupal was initially built as a platform for social networking. Drupal core functionality supports users, profiles, private messaging, blogs and discussion forums. This provides a potent foundation on which to create complex social systems and functions. Business websites can take advantage of these features by using functions like client portal logins or other dynamic and advanced interaction.

8. Blogs and Multi-User Blogs
Drupal’s included blog feature can support multiple bloggers, something that most other platforms find daunting. Users with appropriate permissions can each have their own blog and be listed in blogrolls or on sitemaps. Also, since Drupal has a comprehensive permission system based on roles, web managers can create a role or roles for blog writers that allows them access to their particular areas and nothing else.

7. Custom URL Paths
Another terrific, but often ignored, feature of Drupal is the capability of having custom URL paths. After the installation of a simple module we can define specific paths for particular kinds of content. This allows site visitors, while looking at the URL of your content, to immediately recognize what it is, see the title of the content, and when it was published. Most importantly, this type of site organization is preferred by major search engines like Google and Yahoo.

6. Flexible Theming Options
Drupal, like other content management systems, uses a theme engine to provide the layout and format for sites. This allows users to create content in the Drupal backend without having to copy template files or edit pages individually using HTML. Drupal outclasses the competition with exceedingly flexible and elastic options for theming. When Drupal Geeks create sites we can create "regions" so that content can be placed anywhere we like. We are not limited to just a header, sidebars, content and footer. This permits us to create sites that are complex, efficient and beautiful.

5. RSS Feeds
RSS feeds provide content in an appropriate format for RSS readers. The site's most current content is syndicated and delivered to subscribing users. RSS feeds can also be used to import or embed content from one website into another. Drupal includes a site-wide RSS feed as well as RSS feeds for all blogs and taxonomy terms. When using the Views module to set up custom pages and views of content, those can generate their own RSS feeds, which means that we can create an RSS feed from essentially any mixture of content on the site.

4. Drupal Taxonomy
Taxonomy refers to the capability to create vocabularies and terms which can be used to organize content. Drupal supports unlimited taxonomy. Vocabularies and terms can be arranged in a hierarchy, meaning you have terms that have sub-terms which can have yet more terms organized below them. Defined terms may be used or you can add tags as you go. For example, when bloggers create a post, they are able to use a "Tags" field to add whatever keywords that apply to that particular post. “Tags” is a vocabulary and it is set to free tagging which allows the user to add new keywords as content is created. After it is saved, all content with terms applied to it will now display those terms as links. This allows users, and search engines, to follow those links to other content that has had the same keywords applied. Vocabularies can be fashioned for, and limited to, particular kinds of content.

3. User Management
Upon initial installation Drupal creates, as the first user, a Super Admin. Developers are then free to create as many additional users as might be needed. Site owners also have several options for permitting new user accounts; user created accounts, user created/administrator approved accounts, and site administrator created user accounts. The site can, optionally, send a customized welcome email to new users. Current users can be viewed, maintained, and even blocked if necessary. Drupal includes roles for both anonymous and authenticated users. Additional roles can be added as needed, and users can be assigned one or more roles easily. Roles can be purchased and set to expire, enabling functions such as “subscription only” content.

2. Search Engine Optimized
Drupal is one of the best platforms for search engine optimization. Many great options are included out-of-the-box. Many other levels of SEO functionality, like effortlessly maintained Meta Tags, are simple to install using Drupal modules.

1. Extendibility
The greatest benefit that Drupal offers is its infinite extendibility, allowing for ever changing and improving functionality.  There are literally thousands of available modules that can be downloaded and tested for free and more are being built every day. More importantly, if there doesn’t seem to be a module to fit a particular need Drupal Geeks can create custom modules to achieve specific functions.

If you’d like to learn about what Drupal can do for you, contact the experts at DrupalGeeks.com

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