Dec 06 2019
Dec 06

Drupal 8.8 is paving the way to the future

Drupal 9 is approaching fast. However, until Drupal 9 arrives, there is another major update that is coming soon. Drupal 8.8 was launched on the 4th of December. In this blog post, I am going to tell you what are the changes and quality of life improvements that you can expect from the next major Drupal update.

Drupal WYSIWYG will include will allow media embedding

This is a feature that was long awaited for Drupal. Media has been poorly handled by Drupal for a while now. Because of that, this feature was awaited for a decade already. However, with Drupal 8.8, this wish becomes a reality. The good news is that this feature will come with complete media management capabilities that make it easier to embed the media for content creators and site builders alike. Thanks to this new development we will also be able to integrate media embedding in a future release of our Glazed Builder visual page builder.

Claro, a new administration theme integrated into Drupal core

On top of these updates, Claro, a new administration theme will be integrated in the Drupal core. This theme will bring a new refreshed design to Drupal. This UI refreshment has been long requested by the Drupal community. However, in drupal 8.8, these requests are finally coming to fruition. Below, you will see a comparison between the old and the new improved UI of Drupal with screenshots taken from both of them.

Drupal 8.8 old

In the first screenshot you can see the new page creation tab from the old Drupal UI.

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Drupal 8.8 new

In this screenshot, you can see the same page as in the screenshot above, however, with the new UI added on top of it. As you can see, now it has a white background with blue highlights. The fields appear to be  bigger than previously, further improving the clarity and the text readability. The blue highlight seems to use a darker blue than the one in the previous version of the UI. All in all, the changes are so drastic, however, the better color pallette choice and the boxy look bring out a more clean and modern look for Drupal 8.8.

JSON:API should become significantly faster

First, let’s start with what JSON:API is.JSON:API or JavaScript Object Notation is an encoding scheme that is designed to eliminate the need for an ad-hoc code in order for that code to be able to communicate with the servers that communicate in a defined way.

In the Drupal 8.8 update, JSON:API is thought to be able to create the work even faster than before. This was possible because of a couple of issues that were resolved:

  • The include paths are resolved for every resource in a resource collection, instead of once per unique resource type. 
  • ResourceTypeRepository computes ResourceType value objects on “every request”
  • Resource “entity” should use partial caching

These changes will make Drupal 8 a better platform for phone apps and other "headless" applications.

jQuery UI is going to be deprecated from Drupal core

jQuery UI will be deprecated in Drupal 8.8. This front-end library is used to render user experience components like dragging and dropping, sliders, selecting and sorting, etc. It was first added in 2009 to the Drupal core. However, it became unmaintained since 2017 and as a  consequence was listed as an Emeritus project, which means that the people who were maintaining the projects are reaching or are at the end-of-life of the project. Even though jQuery UI will become deprecated in Drupal 8.8, it will be completely removed from Drupal with the release of Drupal 9. On top of that, because of the end of life, jQuery Ui will not work with future jQuery versions. With this in mind, it seems that Drupal core is in the middle of the process of switching to JavaScript solutions. Also, it seems that Modules and themes that are depending on jQuery UI will have to have it as a dependency and also to manage their libraries.

Path aliases are going to be converted to revisionable entities

Custom URL aliases will now be provided by a new revisionable content entity type in Drupal 8.8. However, the path.alias_storage has been kept for backward compatibility purposes, although its hook has been deprecated. You can check out the next link in order to be fully prepared to upgrade your code for Drupal 9.

Configuration Management improvements

Drupal Configuration Initiative 2.0 started being implemented from the release of Drupal 8.6. However, it started being implemented more and more with new releases of Drupal. Now, with the release of the new Drupal 8.8, the configuration management will see new improvements. One of the changes is that the Sync directory is defined in $settings['config_sync_directory'] in settings.php.
On top of that, the ability to support multiple configuration directions is $config_directories is not deprecated. Furthermore, if you happen to have a custom or contributed code that relies on this ability you either need to move your setting either to $settings or another storage. To read more about this see the change record.

Full support of Composer to build Drupal projects

Composer has helped Drupal development become more in line with the PHP standards. The relationship between Composer and PHP had started to develop more with the release of Drupal 8. Now, Drupal 8.8 will come packed with more Composer plugins.

  • Drupal/core-composer-scaffold: This plugin will be replacing the drupal-composer/drupal-scaffold plugin. The new plugin will be in charge of automating the scaffolding of the Drupal core Composer in the right place. On top of that, this plugin will provide a couple of options for the setup approaches.
  • Drupal/core-vendor-hardening: The task of this plugin is to remove some of the unnecessary folders that are present in vendor directories such as tests or documentation, this process being important when the vendor folder is included in the docroot.
  • Drupal/recommended-project: This composer template will have a role in the generation of a Drupal project structure which follows the recommendations presented in Drupal 8.8, which states that the vendor folder should be outside of docroot.
  • Drupal/legacy-project: This Composer template will generate a Drupal project that will follow the old structure. However, using this will not be recommended for Drupal 8.8.0 and further.

These Composer related parts can be found in the new /composer folder from Drupal source core.

Drupal, better than ever!

Drupal 8.8 seems to bring out a new cluster of features and quality of life improvements that will surely make the life of the site builders and content creators easier. This release will is one important release that paves the way for the arrival of Drupal 9. With that being said, congratulations to all the people that have contributed to the release of Drupal 8.8. Keep up the good work!

Nov 26 2019
Nov 26

 

NGOs and Drupal Digital Marketing

NGOs are noble companies that are aiming to make the world a better place. Without them, more children would be starving in Africa, more women would be disempowered and tigers would face extinction sooner. With this burden on their shoulders NGOs have to be sure that they can spread awareness to a wide range of people and fast. Thanks to the internet they can do this faster and more effectively than ever. In order to be successful in their mission, NGOs have to have the best digital marketing practices to ensure that the message is getting across. But how can NGOs do this? What are their digital marketing needs? Well, in this blog post, I will present you with a couple of digital marketing needs that NGOs are having and I’m going to tell you how to meet those needs with the help of Drupal digital marketing and Sooperthemes.

Security

Drupal Digital Marketing Security

Having a secure website is one of the most important criteria in order for a business to be trusted by its customers. When a customer entrusts a company with their data, they expect it to be kept safe from bad actors. This is also the case for NGOs. Especially because people who are willing to donate for a cause have to fill in private information. If this information lands in the wrong hands, this can result in credit card fraud and identity fraud. With this in mind, Drupal is one of the best choices when it comes to website security. Drupal is open-source, meaning that an entire community of more than 70.000 thousand people is discovering and reporting security issues. On top of that, issues are fixed relatively fast, since Drupal has a dedicated security team that makes sure to secure any vulnerability that might come up. So, if you’re an NGO that is conscious about the safety of your clients' data, then you can migrate your website over to Drupal and never have to worry that you might be the victim of a cybernetic attack. 

Scalability

NGOs have a need for website scalability due to the nature of their work. This is partly because NGOs have usually a lot of content to manage. In other words, NGOs have to manage content that is translated into other languages and adapted to other cultures. Drupal digital marketing makes the issue of scalability easy. Drupal was specifically engineered to be able to handle a huge load of data. At the same, it doesn't compromise on performance. Your website's performance can be further improved by adding a CDN (Content Deliver Network) that takes a lot of the load off your server and puts in on the cloud. 

Author Effective Content Visually 

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Customization is also an important aspect when running an NGO website. Drupal enables your organization to customize your website to your own preferences. It offers a high number of modules, that gives you the option to choose the amount of functionality that you give to your website. Couple this with Glazed Builder on top of your Drupal website and now you have the creative choice to aesthetically customize your website however you want. With this freedom, you can create expressive homepages, powerful campaigns and converting landing pages.

Cost-Benefit

Drupal Digital Marketing Cost

Having to create or maintain a website can be a huge drain on precious resources that your NGO could use to solve the problems of the world. Costs are usually determined by the price of the skilled labor that is hired to do the job, as well as how complex and how many functionalities the website actually has. The good news is that with Drupal you can get a powerful CMS (Content Management System) for free that scales and is ready to host a more complex website for free. However, Drupal is known for its steep learning curve and for the fact that the interface is not necessarily user-friendly. So, if you don’t have any idea how to actually use Drupal for your website, then you still are going to have to hire people that know how to use it. Sooperthemes has somewhat mitigated that issue for you. Glazed Builder is our revolutionary visual page builder, that will provide a user-friendly interface for editing your Drupal website, essentially lowering the steep learning curve, while driving up your efficiency. Seriously, it’s so simple to use and yet it delivers results that are exceeding the expectations. Glazed Builder manages to dramatically reduce the traditional costs associated with the creation and maintenance of a website. The power is in your hands, you just have to take it.

Flexible content management

Content management is an important aspect of every NGO's website. The basic premise behind this is that NGOs are required to have that ability when it comes to website flexibility. The reason behind this is that many NGOs have to make quick adjustments to their websites in order to improve and stay relevant to their campaigns. Drupal digital marketing makes these tasks easy with their CMS. However, our Drupal-based visual page builder Glazed Builder is taking this a notch further. Glazed Builder is essentially drastically shortening the learning curve required to learn and use Drupal as a CMS. The best part about Glazed Builder is that it makes it easy for your marketing department to create and edit the website, without having to involve the IT department, in other words, you can leave the coding to Sooperthemes and you can focus on creating eye-catching webpages. 

Mobile Friendly

Mobile responsiveness is more important today than ever before. Part of it is because the Google SEO ranking takes into account how well a website is optimized for a smartphone environment. In order to have success in the digital world, your website has to offer lightning speed page loads. Studies show that a webpage that has a fast loading speed will the visitor less likely to actually leave the page. This is exactly what Drupal digital marketing offers. Pages made in Drupal are smartphone-optimized from the get-go. With this in mind, you can make sure that your Google ranking will not have to suffer because of such trivial factors. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Drupal Digital Marketing SEO

Good SEO ranking is an important factor to the success of your NGO. If people are not able to find out about your NGO, then you will have a hard time reaching your audience. Without reaching the audience, then there are no funds to be gained and to donate to the cause at hand. Drupal is one of the most search-engine friendly systems out of the box. Modules like Metatag and Real-time SEO let you take your search engine optimization to the next level.

Easy creation of campaigns and landing pages

On top of that, NGOs also have to create landing pages for their visitors. A powerful landing page and campaign are more likely to persuade a visitor to become a contributing member to the cause. This is where Glazed Builder comes into play. With Glazed Builder and Drupal digital marketing, you can easily create powerful campaigns that are sure to make your visitor empathize with your cause. On top of that, landing page creation is also a piece of cake with Glazed Builder. Why would you want to struggle with the creation of a landing page in the back-end and run the risk of it turning out not as you had envisioned, when you can use the power of WYSIWYG (What You Is What You Get) to make sure that the result you desire turns outright. Now, instead of worrying, you can focus on improving the design of your website to be able to finally end the extinction of those big cats.

Form Creation

By the nature of their work, NGOs have to gather information about the people that are donating and supporting the campaign. In order to do this, NGOs use forms where donors can fill in their information when donating. However, coding a form is complicated. Fortunately, Drupal digital marketing provides modules that let you integrate forms into your website. Webform is an example of a module that lets you create said forms. You just have to install it and then enable to module and you are all set. Now, it’s easier than ever.

Conclusion

Now that you know what digital marketing needs an NGO might have, you are better prepared to face and meet them. With Drupal digital marketing and Sooperthemes, you can decrease cost, while increasing the effectiveness and the reach of your homepage, campaigns and landing pages. With this in mind, you can focus your resources to causes that are worth fighting for. Now, go out there and make the world a better place!

Oct 31 2019
Oct 31

More content for smart speakers

The steady rise of smart speakers has paved the way for new opportunities for businesses. Right now, a staggering amount of searches are done through smart speakers. What this means is that people are going to rely more and more on audio feedback. With this in mind, creating some good content and features for home speakers like Alexa and Google Home can keep you in the game. Everything is an opportunity is you work hard enough, especially adapting to new digital marketing trends.

Drupal being proven solution for headless application, is already capable of serving as a platform for you to connect your existing content directly to voice APIs.

Voice search optimization

voice search digital marketing trends

Technology is rapidly changing and shaping the way we are interacting with our surroundings, including what digital marketing trends develop. A trend that was growing in the past year is going to grow in 2020 as well. That trend is, of course, voice search. With the rise in adoption for voice assistants and smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home, voice search has seen an incredible increase in usage over the past years. 

 

With this in mind, you can start adapting your business to better make use of this trend in order for your business to grow. It’s important to remain ahead of the competition if you want your business to flourish. This is why I’m going to give you some tips on how to better optimize your website for voice search:

Tips for Voice Search Optimization

1. Understand the Language: People that are using voice usually are not searching for just one keyword. Instead, they are using long sentences that describe what they are looking for. If you want to make your content more relevant for voice search, then you will have to adapt and use long sentences that are likely to be in tune with what the customer is saying when searching for content that is similar to what you’re offering.

 

2. Be Conversational: In order to improve the likelihood to be found when people are voice searching for your content, you will have to keep the keyphrase at a conversational level. The person that is searching for content using voice search is also going to keep it conversational. In this way, you can increase your chances of being found.

 

3. Answer Questions: When people are using voice search to find out stuff on the internet, they are asking questions. Thus, if you are able to pinpoint the questions that are going to be asked in order for your content to be found, you will have to adapt your keyphrase accordingly. This will certainly increase your chances to share your content with the curious reader.

More chatbots

A.I. Digital Marketing Trends

Another one of the digital marketing trends that does not seem to slow down is the adoption of chatbots. Chatbots have seen an astounding amount of limelight in the past year and are currently part of the digital marketing trends of 2020. Of course, chatbots still have a long way to develop before they can perform more complex tasks, but as with every technology that is in its beginning stage, it is going to become better with time.

 

Juniper Research has done some research on the adoption and projection of the chatbots in the future. Chatbots are really good at cutting costs for business. Not only that, but they can also increase the revenue generated for a business.

 

On top of that, a chatbot is extremely useful when it comes to answering basic questions that required a human in the past years. They definitely cut costs and time for your support team. Your support team can now focus on answering more complex questions, instead of having to sit through the most basic ones that a customer might have. This will also lead to a more satisfied customer, as the time queues that they would have to wait for an answer from the support team are drastically shortened.

Increase the amount of automation

Automation Digital Marketing Trends

Since today's world is incredibly fast-paced, you will have to find ways to increase your efficiency, while decreasing the workload and keep up with the digital marketing trends. Start trying to automate the tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming. Instead of having to focus on sending 100 emails, for example, use a software that will automate that for you. This will make it easier for you to invest time in other more important tasks that you have to take care of.

No-code website design

In the past years, we have seen the rise of the no-code website design software. However, in the upcoming year, their popularity is only going to rise. The reason for this is that these tools are speeding up the process and are cutting down the costs of designing and modifying a web page. In other words, these types of software will lower the barrier of entry for people and businesses wishing to design a visually appealing content for the web but lack the technical knowledge of coding.

Marketing departments will finally be able to edit a webpage that matches their creative concepts without having to involve the IT department, with the magic of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). In the near future, designing a website and building effect multi-media content for the web will become accessible to a larger pool of people. So, if you always wanted to design your own website but lacked the knowledge of how to do it, you can pick up a tool like our visual Drupal-based drag and drop page builder Glazed Builder and start building your own visually stunning website easier than ever before.

Hyper-targeted Ads

Target Digital Marketing Trends

Learn to use the data that your website has gathered from your visitors. Not only that but also the data that you can gather from Google. This will make it much easier for you to find the people that are actually interested in what you have to offer. Not only will it cut the cost of your advertisements, but it will also increase the quality of the leads that are going to come to your website intrigued by your product or service. In a nutshell, start analyzing and start targeting. 

What digital marketing trends are you watching?

Did we miss any important trends or do you want to share your insights on some of the above mentioned digital marketing trends? Drop a comment and let us know!

Oct 01 2019
Oct 01

Drupal accessibility is vital for your website

It is vital to create accessible content on your website. Among your audience, people with impairments will also be included. On top of that, the website itself will become more user-friendly and you will better meet the Drupal accessibility standards that exist today. In this blog post, we will go over 20 tips that will improve your content and website accessibility, then I'm going to make a brief description of W3C and the WCAG guidelines and finally, I'm going to suggest 5 Drupal modules that will aid you in your quest to improve your Drupal accessibility. Let's get started.

1. Incorporate a Site Map

Drupal accessibility map

A site map is a beneficial tool that lets a user of your website assess the logical structure of your website. This, in turn, will make it easier for the user to be able to overview the content of your website. On top of that, it makes the content on your website easier to be accessed and increases your Drupal accessibility. 

2. ALT attributes to describe pictures

Alt attributes are a very important part of enabling your website to have accessible content. The main purpose of ALT attributes is that is going to help the search engines and website better be able to describe and understand what the picture is all about. This can be very helpful for people who can’t see and receive their image descriptions through audio feedback. Probably your website was built from the start with alt attributes in the content, but you need to train your writers and site maintainers to not skip over the alt attributes when updating the website.

3. Clean and distraction-free content

Drupal accessibility clutter

Another paramount point to make your content more accessible is to host your content on a clutter-free website. This will enable easier access to the content on your website. Which in turn will make it less frustrating for impaired people to navigate your website and to get to the important parts of it.

4. Clear and simple language

Language is another factor that has to be taken into account if you want to make accessible content. It’s important to adapt your language to be able to be understood by a wide range of people. That is why, even in writing, it’s important for the language level to remain conversational. That means no fancy words that can make it more difficult for the screen reader to do its job. If you install the Yoast SEO Drupal module you'll get a real-time score of how easy-to-read your content is! 

5. Meaningful link text

It is important that the link text is as clear as possible. Link texts like “click here” or “read here” are not descriptive enough. Instead, try to link a sentence or group of words that are describing what the link is about. This will lead to a decrease in frustration for users that are unable to see and use a reader.

6. Ensure keyboard accessibility

People that have motor disabilities, visual impairment or are amputees, often have trouble using a keyboard or any device that requires a high degree of motor coordination. That’s why keyboard accessibility is so important. The main point of keyboard accessibility is to make every element or link be selectable by using the TAB key. In order to test if your website has this functionality, just press TAB and see if every element will be able to be selected. This way, you will greatly reduce the struggles of impaired people.

7.Provide videos and audios with transcripts or captions

In order to make accessible content, video and audio should have transcripts or captions. This is a crucial step in making the content on your website accessible. With this, screen readers will be able to aid the visually impaired by reading the text, while the deaf will be able to read the text. 

8. Support screen readers

Drupal accessibility keyboard

Screen reader support is the most important piece for improving your Drupal accessibility. With this kind of software support, your website will be able to read out loud the text that it’s being displayed on your website. Basically, it lets blind people hear the text from your website. On top of that, paired with captions and translations, the screen reader can also read what is happening in a multimedia video. Also, the screen reader gives two types of feedback, either through speech or through braille. A general awareness of how screenreaders work is a great first step in training your writers on accessibility.

9. Don’t use automated media

What is automated media? Automated media is the media that starts automatically after a website is accessed. It either can be an ad or a video. In both cases, it can be annoying for somebody with an impairment to have to find and mute or close the media windows. This is why automated media should be turned off on your website.

10. Review your website using automated accessibility assessment tools

It’s always a good idea to assess your website's Drupal accessibility with an automated testing tool for accessible content. This tool will automatically scan and see how compliant your website is. After this, you can see the areas of your website were your doing great and the areas were you could still improve on your accessibility.

11. Make your website seizure proof

Drupal accessibility brain

It’s really important to make sure that your website is not causing some unwanted seizures in your audience. For example, someone that suffers from epilepsy can have it triggered by rapid flashing animations. A simple rule to avoid such an unfortunate event is to not have content that flashes for more than 3 times per second. This way you will make sure that you’re not going to trigger any photosensitive seizures.

12. Content that has to be input by the user has clear instructions

If a website requires its users to input content, then instructions have to be crystal clear in order to avoid confusion. The easy way to do this is to provide labels for every form control. Examples of such control are drop-down menus, text fields, and checboxes. On top of that, the labels have to describe the function and purpose of the control. This will make sure that the assistive technology will refer to the correct form, increasing your Drupal accessibility.

13. Character key shortcuts

Drupal accessibility characters

If a website supports keyboard shortcut that consists of numbers, letters, punctuation or symbols, then it should have the option to be able to be turned off. This will make sure that people will not trigger accidentally a shortcut in by pressing on the wrong button.

14. Users are allowed to turn animations off

Another important feature that your website has to have in order to be more inclusive and accessible has to be the function to turn animations off. It’s important to have this feature because animations can be distracting and can make the navigation on your website harder.

15. Pointer gestures

Complex actions such as pinching for zooming or swiping should also be able to be done through other means. This will ensure that the people of your audience that cannot perform for various reasons, will not be left out. This is a vital point for your Drupal accessibility.

16. Motion actuation

The interaction that can be used by moving your phone, for example shaking it, should also be able to be done through the interface, without the need of physically doing the interaction. This will increase the Drupal accessibility, inclusiveness, and user-friendliness of your website.

17. No time limits

Drupal accessibility hourglass

Having no time limits is really important. Imposing time limits on your website can make people with motor, visual or hearing disabilities have a hard time reaching their goal in a timely manner on your website. This, in turn, can lead to an increase in user frustration. In order to avoid that, disabling time limits is the way to go.

18. Text resizability

Another important aspect of improving your Drupal accessibility is text resizability. Basically, your website has to allow its users to zoom to up to 200% from the original size. This will ensure that even with some sort of visual impairment might be able to read the text or view your photos.

19. Visual presentation

This is another important criteria when you are considering making your website more inclusive. Adhering to this guideline will give our end users the ability to choose how to visualize your website. This includes the colors, the line spacing, and sizes. This will give your users the freedom to choose the visual representation of your website however it suits him best. 

20. Bypass Blocks

Drupal accessibility stop sign

Another tip to make your website more inclusive and user-friendly is to create the opportunity for the users to be able to bypass blocks. This is important because a screen reader will read all the navigation links, header links and all sorts of repetitive content that is present on a website, regardless of how long the links are. Now, you can imagine how frustrating it can be for a person to have to sit and listen to a high number of links, that may be irrelevant for them, before actually getting to see or hear the content that they were originally searching for. This may lead to a lot of your visitors becoming frustrated and leaving your page. So, in order to avoid this situation, the easiest way is to provide a skip to content link in your header. With this, you create better Drupal accessibility for your website.

WCAG Guidelines

W3C

WCAG was developed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) as a set of regulations that help make digital content accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

 

There are 3 versions of these regulations. These are WCAG 1.0, WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1. The latter two have at their core four basic principles that have to be met in order for a website to be compliant. These principles are as follows: 

  • Perceivable: The information and user interface has to be presented to the user in a way that can be perceived.

  • Robust: The content has to be robust enough to be able to be interpreted by many types of users, including assistive technology and future technology.

  • Operable: Navigation and user interface components have to be operable.

  • Understandable: Information and user interface have to be understandable.

 

On top of that, each guideline has a level of compliance that is assigned to it. The levels of compliance are as follows:

 
  • A: This level of compliance usually has the highest priority and is the easiest to achieve out of them all.

  • AA: This is a more extensive guideline. It is usually regarded as the standard to meet.

  • AAA: This is the most extensive design standards to meet. It is also more strict, thus it is the one that is the least common to meet.

 

Currently, most laws require websites to be WCAG 2.0 compliant. Only if the laws in your country explicitly state that your website should comply with the standards of WCAG 2.1, then you should adopt that. However, the W3C does suggest that the new website should be built in compliance with the WCAG 2.1 since they tend to be more inclusive and user-friendly.

Drupal Modules that help with your Content accessibility

Drupal accessibility disability

Now that you have an idea of the compliance levels for accessibility, it’s time to see a list of Drupal modules that can help you improve the Drupal accessibility of your website and become more user-friendly and inclusive.

Automatic alternative text

This Drupal module makes it easy for the images on your website to have an alternative text, even if there is none specified by the user. This module uses Microsoft's Azure Cognitive Services API. It basically identifies what the image is about and makes a description or more based on the confidence level.

Text resize

This module allows the text on your website to be adjusted to the needs of your user. This module is available for both Drupal 7 and 8. 

Style Switcher

This module provides a high degree of functionality for the users that are suffering from colorblindness. It gives the ability for themers to create themes with alternative stylesheets. This, in turn, gives the ability for the user to select the right color scheme for their particular type of colorblindness.

Accessibility Scanner

This module allows you to perform website accessibility assessments in order to see where your website can be improved. This module has to be used in conjunction with achecker. On top of that, the websites that can be asses are both local and remote.

Fluidproject UI Options

This module provides the user with the ability to control and modify a page’s font size, font style, height, contrast and link style. On top of that, those preferences are remembered on the website by using cookies. A perfect module to ensure a higher degree of customizability for all its users.

Conclusion

Hopefully, now that you find out those tips and have a better understanding of the WCAG guidelines imposed by the W3C, you can put your newfound knowledge into practice and use the suggested Drupal modules to make the most amazing, inclusive and user-friendly website that you can make. These will get the Drupal accessibility of your website to new heights!

Jul 26 2019
Jul 26

Is it possible to enhance your Drupal experience?

Drupal is a favorite content management system among professionals. It has been proven time and time again that it is reliable, scalable and can turn any website into a magical digital experience that your customers are loving. For these reasons, Drupal has gathered a passionate community that wants to constantly see it improve. Here at Sooperthemes, we are also driven by our passion for Drupal. We take Drupal and improve its shortcomings through our products. In other words, we enhance your Drupal experience with our framework theme and easy-to-use Drupal 8 & 7 visual content builder.

What are some examples of real-life organizations using Sooperthemes products?

It’s time to show you the results of using our easy-to-use drag and drop builder, and our framework theme. Here is a list of websites that were entirely built over the Drupal architecture using Glazed Builder and Glazed Theme:

Senate enhance your Drupal experience

The U.S. Senate is a core part of the legislation process of the United States. Such an important part of the U.S. had a need for a really good website platoform. Drupal was chosen because it can handle large and complex websites. On top of that, the senate chose to build all websites for newly inaugurated senators in 2019 with our Glazed Builder and Glazed Theme products. This resulted in a modern-looking governmental senator websites that provide a great experience at low costs to the senate, because much of the page-building work can be done in-house thanks to our easy-to-use page builder. 

2. Swarco

Swarco enhance your Drupal experience

Swarco is a company that offers traffic technology for better and safer transportation. It is based in Innsbruck Austria and has an international network of production facilities that are sure to meet the needs of their clients. Swarco decided to improve its online presence by overhauling its website with Glazed Builder. This resulted in an unforgettable digital experience that leaves a long-lasting impression. Well done!

3. Body Worlds

Body Worlds enhance your Drupal experience

Body Worlds is the biggest traveling exposition of dissected human bodies. The exposition attracted more than 37 million visitors, which makes it one of the hottest tourist attractions to date. Such a successful exposition had to also have an online presence that reflected their success. That's why Body World built its website with Glazed Builder. This resulted in a gorgeous website that attracts clients from all over the world. 

4. Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

Monterrey enhance your Drupal experience

Monterrey Institue of Technology and Higher Education is one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America. With its headquarters established in Monterrey, Mexico, Tec offers the finest education to its student. Such a successful university required a beautiful website that can convince prospective students to join their ranks. That's why Tec decided to go for the combination of Drupal and Glazed Builder. This resulted in a beautiful website that can tackle the multi-lingual necessities of the university, while also attracting a large number of students.

5. Open Medical

Open medical enhance your Drupal experience

Open Medical is a company that wants to improve the delivery of healthcare services to the general public. In order to do this, they partner with various companies that help them reach their goal. On top of that, such an initiative needed a good website that can showcase their mission and values. That's were Glazed Builder came into play. The results were a practical website that showcases the trustworthiness of Open Medical to their potential customers. This resulted in an increased number of clients and leads generated. 

What Sooperthemes' products?

Sooperthemes bases its products on the Drupal architecture. This means that you get the best that Drupal has to offer without any of its drawbacks, making it possible to enhance your Drupal experience. The Sooperthemes portfolio includes a large number of turn-key demo websites that can be used to quickly set up a gorgeous website that converts leads to customers right out of the box. There is a wide selection of demos that you can choose from based on the industry that your company is conducting business.

A couple of examples of our demos that are completely built with our drag and drop Drupal content editor and our framework Drupal theme.

Marketing Drupal Theme Demo:

marketing enhance your Drupal experience

This theme is perfect for any marketing agency that wants to have a gorgeous website that looks professional and attracts high caliber clients. The theme is highly customizable, being able to be adapted to the needs of every marketing agency.

Business Drupal Theme Demo:

business enhance your Drupal experience

Sooperthemes also provides a business website theme, perfect for people that want to have a new and astonishing website for their clients. The business theme focuses on a more professional look that conveys trust to your prospects. The business theme is the perfect choice for any business owner that wants to provide a great online experience for their customer.

Agency Drupal Theme Demo:

agency enhance your Drupal experience

Our agency theme is the perfect choice for any agency that wants to create or improve their digital presence. It is designed to be able to fit the needs of any agency that wants to impress their audience. It has an intuitive design that can surely make a great website for your agency. Especially if you want to enhance your Drupal experience.

Logistics Drupal Theme Demo:

logistics enhance your Drupal experience

Sooperthemes has the perfect theme website for any logistics company that wants to have an impressive online presence. The layout and design are specially adapted to be able to convey the fluidity and speed with which logistics companies are driving business. Moreover, these themes can further be customized to be able to reflect your brand. 

Photography Drupal Theme Demo:

photography enhance your Drupal experience

Are you passionate about photography and don't how you to monetize your hobby? The Glazed Photography theme is the right answer for you. You can easily setup-up your website to be able to show your clients your finest material. Glazed Photography is the right answer for you if want to have an edge above your competition.

Construction Drupal Theme Demo:

construction enhance your drupal experience

Any construction company has to have a jaw-dropping online presence in order to be successful. This is what you get by having by building your website with Glazed construction theme. This theme is perfectly adapted to reflect the seriousness and commitment of the construction industry. Whether you want to showcase your team or your portfolio, this theme is the perfect choice to make a lasting impression to any potential client.

Powerful content capabilities with Sooperthemes' easy-to-use visual content builder

These themed demo sites are further customizable to suit your needs with our Glazed Builder module. This module makes it easy to turn your dream website into reality. Glazed Builder is a powerful Drupal-based drag and drop visual builder that can make any Drupal website shine. One of the struggles that Drupal users seem to have at first is the steep learning curve, which can require a large number of hours, essentially bottlenecking the workflow. In order to bypass this struggle, Sooperthemes designed Glazed Builder, effectively helping website designers and marketers save countless hours and money on working with Drupal. The hours saved can be used for other important tasks.  One of the great points about Glazed Builder is that it makes designing a Drupal website seem effortless.

Why enhance your Drupal experience with Sooperthemes?

This is a great question that everybody should be asking themselves this before making a purchase decision. Well, let me explain.

 

Sooperthemes is driven by its passion for Drupal. Our main goal is to enhance your Drupal experience. In order to do so, we address the most common pain point that Drupal has, such as long development time, steep learning curve and difficult user interface. Sooperthemes has developed its products to be able to accommodate these needs. With the Glazed theme, users can quickly have a template for their Drupal website that can be easily customizable and deployed. On top of that, Glazed Builder overcomes the native powerful but complex user interface of Drupal with its Drag and Drop capabilities and intuitive user interface. On top of that, Glazed Builder incorporates a large number of elements that can be used to be able to further customize your website. Examples are sections, panels, jumbotrons, wells, panels, collapsible, Drupal blocks, Drupal views and much more. 

 

As you can see, the imagination is the only limiting factor when it comes to the capabilities of web design with Glazed Builder and its capabilities to enhance your Drupal experience.

Conclusion

If you want to enhance your Drupal experience, then Sooperthemes is the right answer for you. Not only does it offer the best of what Drupal has to offer, but it also transforms Drupal's weak points into its strong points. If you’re not convinced yet, no problem, try Sooperthemes for free here

Jul 09 2019
Jul 09

Why Drupal is the best choice in 2019? Learn from these incredible Drupal 8 case studies

Every day there is a large number of websites that are popping up on the internet. However, some websites stand out more than the others, when it comes to the user experience provided. After seeing this list of awesome Drupal 8 website examples, you will know why Drupal is the best choice to deliver an unforgettable digital experience to your audience.

Part of this selection of awesome websites are our personal selection of favorites from the 2019 Drupal Splash Awards.

1. Chupa Chups

Chupa Chups Drupal

The first awesome Drupal website belongs to Chupa Chups. Chupa Chups had to redesign its website to encompass the vision of “Forever Fun”. On top of that, they had to build a backbone platform that can host all the international Chupa Chups website, which are over 100.

The challenge was to be able to incorporate the needs of their buyer personas in the new website design. In order to do that, they had to make sure that the chosen design was in concordance with them, as well to make sure that it is in line with the different cultural expectations all over the world.

In order to be able to pull the redesign of the website off, Chupa Chups had decided to use Drupal 8. This enables the brand to have a high level of flexibility, while not having to compromise on standardization. By using Drupal 8, Chupa Chups has aimed to centralize the platform, gaining the advantage of easy scalability. The result was a visually stunning website that is in line with the goals that the company has set for the project.

You can read more here.

2. Mintz

Mintz Drupal

Mintz is a general practice, full-service law firm that is employing over 450 attorneys worldwide. The company has noticed that there is a need for a rebranding that can better reflect the hardworking and forward-thinking culture, with which the company guides its clients through times of unprecedented transformation. 

The rebrand was reflected through the launch of a new website that better reflected the culture at Mintz. Among the most notable rebranding changes was the shortening of the name for marketing purposes, as well as a change of the logo. The change received tons of positive feedback from the community as well as the industry.

You can read more here.

3. Panasonic North America

.

Panasonic Drupal

Panasonic is one of the biggest electronics manufacturers in the world. However, the website was no longer reflecting the evolving brand of Panasonic. In other words, the website was not holding up with the times anymore. 

In order to be able to reflect the constantly evolving brand of Panasonic, they had to go for an API first approach. On top of that, they had to put the customer at the center of the project, making sure that the redesign would be in line with customer expectations.

After 18 months of development, the website was finally ready to launch. The API focused approach resulted in the ability to easily integrate other marketing tools. Those tools let the company have better customer data-driven insights. These insights can be used to deliver a better-tailored customer experience.

You can read more here.

4. COIT

Coit Drupal

COIT is a family owned specialty cleaning business that was founded in the year 1945 in California. With over 100 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, they are serving over 12 million homes. Despite this, their website was really behind the times.

In order to tackle this challenge, a capable CMS had to be chosen. The business had a corporate website with 100+ microsites. Because of the big amount of websites that had to be handled, Drupal 8 was chosen. Drupal 8 allowed COIT to tackle the complexity of the task, while also being able to deliver on the desired visual performance.

The result of this is a brand new website redesign. Geolocation was also added to the website, in order to redirect the customers to the nearest franchise location. Moreover, the new content strategy allows for better-optimized SEO, while also having deeper conversion tracking. These changes have resulted in a better online experience for consumers. 

You can read more here.

5. Rotary Foundation

Rotary Foundation Drupal

The Rotary Foundation is a non-profit organization that is supporting the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational and cultural exchange programs. The problems started to show when the people that were willing to make donations to the website had to go through a frustratingly long process.

In order to fix this problem, Drupal was chosen. It was chosen because the company already had existing Drupal websites. This made it easier to be able to develop an app that can handle the transactions in a seamless way. On top of that, the app also had to integrate with other internal processes such as finance and membership.

The development of such an app has resulted in positive feedback. It is highly customizable which lets content creators be able to effortlessly deliver their content to the audience. Moreover, donor satisfaction has never been higher. 

You can read more here.

6. WWF Switzerland

WWF Drupal

World Wide Fund is a non-governmental organization that works in wildlife preservation and aims to reduce the human impact on the environment. In order to be able to achieve its goal, WWF decided that they need a strong online presence, basically, a website that can reflect the values that the company stands for. The website has to be able to convince and educate the audience about the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife. However, in its current state, the website wasn’t able to spark any emotion in its audience, it was like a Wikipedia page.

Part of the challenge was to be able to redesign and incorporate multiple elements at the same time on the new website. One of the requirements that is hard to fulfill was to be able to handle complex editorial, which enabled editors to be able to add pages without having to involve the IT department. On top of that, the website had to have multilingual content, CRM integration, and enhanced analytical capabilities. All these requirements were possible to be med by using Drupal 8.

The of the project was a completely new website design filled with rich content that is able to transmit the emotion through the vibrant pictures and videos of animals. On top of that, the website had become a role model for the other WWF websites around the world, that are now looking to also improve their design.

You can read more here.

7. Arsenal

Arsenal Drupal

Arsenal is one of the biggest football clubs in the Premier League in England. Because f this they have a huge fan base. However, the mobile experience that the club was offering to their fans was really outdated. The club was having two content management systems to separately manage Arsenal.com and it’s sister website. These content management systems were 10 years old and it showed.  

Arsenal recognized the need for a single centralized CMS that is being able to fulfill the needs of the users. Arsenal had selected Drupal 8 for the task. Now, the fans are more engaged than ever with the website that resulted from the change. They started consuming way more content than before, while also giving them easier access to the club fan shops.

You can read more here.

8. The Wildlife Trust

Wildlife Trust Drupal

For 100 years, The Wildlife Trust has been caring for Britain’s wellbeing of the wildlife. It acts as a hub for 46 local trusts by managing local charities, events, and member activities. The challenge arose when the 46 local had to be centralized under a single system.

Because of the scale of the task, Drupal 8 was chosen to resolve this challenge. All of the trusts are operating with a high degree of autonomy. Because of this, Drupal 8 was the perfect platform, it gives enough autonomy, however, it still maintains a level of central oversight. On top of that, Drupal also provides a flexible page layout, a great mobile experience, while also providing language adaptation for Welsh out of the box.

After a year of work on the project, the end result was a seamless online experience with more engaging content that the wildlife conscious audience will surely enjoy more.

You can read more here.

9. Askeladden

Boats Drupal

Askelaaden needed a new website to be able to cater to the needs of its customers. They needed a website that would showcase their products in an aesthetically pleasing way, while also providing a more intuitive customer journey.

For the complexity of the project, they chose Drupal as their CMS of choice. However, Drupal had a steep learning curve and they had a time constraint on their hands. In order to be able to meet the demands without having to change the CMS, they had to find a solution. That’s were Glazed Builder came into play. 

Sooperthemes' visual drag and drop Drupal page builder proved to be the perfect solution for the task. It is a powerful visual drag and drop builder that is based on Drupal. With Glazed Builder Askeladden managed to be able to finish the project in time while also delivering stunning results.

You can have a look at their website here.

10. Coastal Bend Council of Governments

Council Drupal

Coastal Bend Council of Governments was in dire need of a new website design that would be able to communicate their vision and mission in a visual way. 

Drupal seemed like the best option to complete the task. However, the need to complete the task on a short deadline was making the task more difficult. That’s why CBCOG has decided to use Glazed Builder to bring the task to its completion.

The result was a visually stunning website that manages to express the core idea of the council through a visually pleasing experience. Moreover, the Drupal development time was drastically shortened, meaning that the project was delivered on time.

You can have a look at their website here.

Conclusion

There is a reason why Drupal is such a popular and successful CMS. Those websites on the list are proof of the visually stunning capabilities that Drupal can deliver. On top of that, Drupal can also handle complex websites that deliver a multilingual experience to its users. Is Drupal still a good choice in 2019? Definitely.

Jun 25 2019
Jun 25

The Open Source CMS that Revolutionized the World

Acquia HQ and the Mayor of Boston

You may have already heard of Drupal, but for those who don't know, Drupal is an open source Content Management System. However, you might not know the history behind Drupal and the connection that it has with the SaaS company, Acquia. Well, in this blog post, I’m going to tell you the history behind the biggest open source Content Management System and the role it played in the founding of Acquia.

Drupal History

Dries Buytaert in his student days. Photo credit.

It all started in the year 2000 when Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder, which at the time were students at the University of Antwerp, needed an internet connection, which was quite seldom found back in the days. This resulted in them both building a wireless bridge between their dorms. On top of that, they had a need for a place to also talk. This led Dries Buytaert to start a small news website with a chat board for him and his friends to be able to meet, publish and share the news.

The software that was built in the process remained unnamed until Dries had graduated. However, after his graduation, he put the website online, because he wanted to stay in touch with his friends. He originally wanted to name the domain to dorp.org.  The word "dorp" translates to "village" in dutch. However, Dries had misspelled the word "dorp" to "drop" and he chose to leave it like that. After a while, the website began to attract new members that would discuss topics on new technologies and ideas.

In January of 2001, Dries had decided that he wanted to release the software at the core of the website, for other people to be able to use it. So, it started as an open source project. The name of the software was derived from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word “Druppel”, which means “drop”. On top of that, the software was in need of a logo. For this task, Kristjan Jansen and Steven Wittens had stylized a water droplet with eyes, curved nose and a smile.

pA00 : 08 / 02 : 06O

Video showing one of the earliest Drupal Camps, New York City 2006. Unmute (bottom left) this video to get the full experience.

Drupal 1.0

The first release version was Drupal 1.0, which was built using Slash, a modular CMS, and Scoop. It was released on the 15th of January 2001. At first, there were 18 core modules, which were basically a set of PHP files containing a set of routines. Everything was accessed through PHP files due to the lack of a menu. On top of that, at first, the code had to be put into one of the seven hooks of the modules. The system was built from the beginning to be modular. This lets people adapt their websites to their needs. The system is depending on SQL in order to manage and change layout, themes and content.

Drupal 2.0

Just after two months on the 15th March 2001 Drupal 2.0 was released. This version added a translation feature that made it possible for users to translate their website into another language. On top of that, it also provided a framework that supported multilingual websites. It had 22 core modules and added user ratings and sections for stories.

Drupal 3.0

On 15th September 2001, Drupal 3.0 was released. The primary difference between this version and its predecessors is that it used nodes instead of pages. Meaning that every form of content was managed by a node from the node module. On top of that, this version reached 26 core modules.

Drupal 4.0

Video showing Drupal 4 with the (in)famous book module. 

It was released on the 15th of June 2002. At this point, there were already 100 websites that were operating on Drupal. This made Drupal truly an international open source project. A notable addition to this version was the taxonomy module which replaces the attributes and meta tags. On later versions, there were added a lot of new modules including the e-commerce module and the support for a profile module or theme template that facilitated an early version of the What You See Is What You Get. Right now, Drupal was starting to look like a truly enterprise CMS.

Drupal 5.0

On the 6th birthday of Drupal on 15th January 2007, Drupal 5.0 was released. What made this release stand apart from the others was the fact that it supported jQuery. jQuery is a JavaScript library that makes HTML scripting easier than the previous versions. Another feature that was added was the support for distributions of pre-created Drupal packages. These could be customized to the liking of the user. On top of that, modules were moved to their own folder which made it easier to install and uninstall them. The site load speeds were also improved by making use of a CSS preprocessor that migrated cacheable stylesheets into a single compressed folder.

Drupal 6.0

The 6.0 version was released on 13th February 2008. One major step for Drupal was that the Whitehouse has adopted Drupal as their website managing CMS. One notable improvement was the rewriting of the menu system from scratch, which makes it a lot easier to use. On top of that, users were now able to drag-and-drop a number of features such a blocks and taxonomy vocabularies and terms. Moreover, the language system was modified so it could handle right-to-left languages. Security was also improved by providing an Update Status module that automatically checks for new updates.

Drupal 7.0

Video showing Drupal 7 and its clear improvements in user experience

It was released on the 5th of January 2011. Drupal was used to build simple blogs and websites of large corporations, essentially becoming trustworthy worldwide. This version of Drupal also had a couple of improvements. First of all, nodes were no longer dependent on modules, as they could interact with any node at runtime, meaning that everything became an independent entity. On top of that, this version added a queue API and an improved jQuery usage. This made it possible for everything to be associated with web apps.

Drupal 8.0

The current version of the CMS was officially released on 15th November 2015. The previous generations did manage to accomplish a big deal, however, this version is sure to bring even bigger changes. Drupal 8 was a complete rewrite of Drupal 7, this time based on a PHP framework called Symfony. Notable new features that were added are enhanced multilingual features, Views in core, a new level of web accessibility, improved theming with Twig, modern PHP, Symfony and OOP (Object Oriented Programming) adoption amongst others. Another notable feature is the new in-line editing. However, not as powerful and intuitive as our own in-line editing tool, Glazed Builder, which is based on Drupal. Here you can try our more elaborate inline editing experience for free!

Glazed Builder: Our Drupal UX add-on solution

While Drupal made strides in improving its core components' user experience, Sooperthemes created a commercial add-on solution that takes Drupal to the next level. With our 10+ years experience in Drupal theming, we decided to concentrate our resources on developing a new Drupal experience for authors, marketers, and site builders. Here is a short demo of what our our Glazed Builder product can add to your Drupal website:

pA00 : 32 / 02 : 17O

Video showing our Drupal UX solution Glazed Builder. This blog post was also created with Glazed Builder and without our tool we couldn't have created this video-enhanced story-telling experience.

Acquia

When Drupal was gaining momentum in 2007, Dries Buytaert saw that in order to be able to deliver the best support for large organizations, a dedicated company was needed. However, he was still hesitant, since, at that time, he was dedicated to finishing his Ph.D. This all changes when Jay Batson introduces himself to Dries at the Sunnyvale DrupalCon. Jay dreaming of opening a company that was focused on providing support and supplementary services for open source software such as Drupal and Apache Solr. After Jay persuaded Dries, they dropped Apache Solr from the equation and chose to focus on Drupal. On June 25th 2007, Jay registered the company under the name Acquia.

Although Acquia did not have an official product yet, they still received their Series A funding. This meant that Acquia was to be a significant player in the Drupal communnity, having managed to raise $7 million. For the most part of the remaining year, Acquia worked on their corporate values and products. Finally, In September 2008, Acquia has opened the doors for business. From that moment on, Dries and Jay's vision to build the universal platform for the world’s greatest digital experiences had started to materialize.

Conclusion

Drupal and Acquia both have had humble beginnings. However, with the passage of time, they have become staples for the open source community. Right now, Drupal is the third most popular Content Management System by market share. Moreover, with the ongoing trend in the market for companies to adopt or incorporate open source, Drupal still has potential to grow. In our previous blog post, you can find out why open source is our future.

Jun 12 2019
Jun 12

The World is Moving Towards Open Source Software

Open source software has been around for some time now. When it first came out, open source software was perceived as risky and immature. However, with the passage of time, more and more companies started developing and building upon open source. A couple of great open source examples that have been pioneering the industry for a while now are Drupal CMS and Linux OS.

What is Open Source Software?

So, what exactly is open source software? Well, open source describes the type of software that has no proprietary license attached to it. Instead, it's published with a license that guarantees the software will forever be free to download, distribute, and use. This also means that unlike proprietary software, the code can be inspected by anybody. On top of that, if somebody wants to customize the code to their needs by changing it, they are free to do it.

Proprietary software is often the exact opposite. The code of proprietary software cannot be copied and distributed freely, modifications to the code are also prohibited, in case there are issues arising, you cannot fix them by yourself. You have to rely on the software vendor to fix the problem for you.

Open source has its set of advantages as well as its disadvantages. 

Advantages of Open Source Software

So, you might wonder what are the specific advantages of open source as opposed to software with a proprietary license. Here are some advantages:

  • Flexibility: Open source software is known for having great flexibility. The great flexibility is granted by the fact that the code is open. Thus, people are able to customize it to their needs.

  • Speed: Competition in the digital era is fiercer than ever before. One of the defining factors that are dictating the success of a company over its competition is the speed of innovation. Luckily, the companies that are using open source software know that open source facilitates speed. By not having to deal with the bureaucracy that comes when dealing with proprietary software, everything can be set-up to be working in a fast and reliable way.

  • Cost efficiency: Another trump card in the arsenal of open source software is the cost efficiency provided. Open source can be used by anyone free of charge because it is registered under the GNU General Public License which basically ensures that if somebody is using open source software, then they also have to make the code available for other people to be able to use it. Successful open source communities leverage the power of the community by providing good infrastructure for the community to share and review software extensions and improvements.

  • Security: Proprietary software has had a reputation of being more secure than the open source counterpart. Part of this was due to the popular belief that if the source code is hidden from the public, then hackers will have a harder time cracking it. However, this is far from the truth. The code for open source software is available for everybody to see, which, in turn, could make it more vulnerable. However, because of the fact that everyone has access to it, it is easier to peer review the code. In this way, people will be able to spot vulnerabilities way easier than with proprietary code, making it easier for developers to fix said vulnerabilities.

Disadvantages of Open Source Software

Now that we’ve talked about the advantages of open source, we should also discuss its shortcomings.

  • Not user-friendly: A common problem with open source projects is a lack of focus on design and user-friendliness. People might have a harder time being able to adapt to the interface of an open source software compared to competing proprietary platforms. Of course, this is not true for all open source projects, but it is common to see that well-funded companies are better able to attract and afford the best designers.

  • Hidden costs: Although open source software is hailed to be free to use, it actually is not. When adopting new software for a business, a decision maker also has to take into account different factors. For example, it is easy to overlook the cost of setting up and customizing the software for the company, paying for the training of the employees or hiring skilled personnel that is able to actually operate the software. Even if the adoption is not for business use, a time investment still has to be made in order to properly be able to use the software to its full potential.

  • Lackluster support:  When it comes to proprietary software, there are often dedicated departments that are ready to help a struggling user with their issues. In contrast, most open source software does not enjoy the same level of support. However, open source tends to gather dedicated communities around it that can be helpful in solving some issues. However, it’s good to keep in mind that these people are not paid for their service and might not be able to solve all the issues that are arising.

  • Orphan Software: Proprietary software can enjoy a longer lifespan than their open source counterparts. One of the risks of using OSS is that the community or developers or both lose interest in the project or move on to another project. What this means is that the software will stop being developed supported. The users of the software will be left high and dry and will have to migrate to another platform. Of course, there are also plenty of commercial software projects that go out of business, but strong commercial backing does increase confidence in the continuity of the software. Some open source projects have loosely associated commercial backing. Like Redhat backing Linux and Acquia backing Drupal.

Tech Giants buy Open Source Software Companies

Open Source Software Giant Hand

Lately, more and more tech giants are willing to start having some presence on the open source market. A couple of these examples are IBM, AT&T and Microsoft.

IBM acquires Red Hat

On 28 October 2018, IBM acquired Red Hat for $34 billion, a gargantuan amount of money. The aim of this acquisition is for IBM to shape the cloud and open source market for the years to come. IBM is betting a lot of money on this acquisition, in order to secure a lead on the market. However, there are some skeptics of this acquisition. They claim that IBM is going to ruin the Red Hat culture, as it was proven by their track record until now, kind of like some sort of corporate colonization. Only time will tell how this acquisition is going to shape the future of open source software. Nevertheless, the willingness of IBM to dish out so much money proves that open source software is seriously a path of the future.

AT&T acquires AlienVault

AlienVault is a developer of an open source solution that manages cyber attacks. It includes the Open Threat Exchange which is the world's largest crowd-sourced computer security platform. It was acquired by AT&T on August 22 in 2018. Since then it was renamed from AlienVault to AT&T Cybersecurity. With the high reach and resources of AT&T, former AlienVault is sure to have a bigger impact on the cyber safety of the world. However, this acquisition sparked a lot of controversies, mainly with some supporters of AlienVault claiming that this is the end for the brand. Well, this is true since the company was renamed to AT&T Cybersecurity. However, time will tell if there are going to be more radical changes to their business model under the ownership of AT&T.

Acquia acquires Mautic

With the acquisition of the open source marketing automation tool Mautic on 8 May 2019, Acquia is aiming to strengthen its presence on the open source software scene. Together with Mautic, Acquia is going to deliver the only open source solution to proprietary alternatives, expanding on Acquia's vision to deliver the industry's first Open Digital Experience Platform.  On top of that, unlike the other two companies, Acquia has a strong open source culture, making the acquisition of Mautic a well-thought business decision.

Apps, Plug-ins, and Services: When Open Source  Mingles With Closed Source Software

Android, Google, and Huawei

Android is an open source operating system for mobile phones. Formally, it is known as the AOSP (Android Open Source Project). It is a project developed by Google. The OS is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices. It is licensed under Apache 2.0 which makes it possible for users to modify and distribute modifications if they choose to. Even so, in the recent case of the U.S. ban of Huawei, Google announced the new trade embargo forced them to retract Huawei's Android license. Now, since Android is open source, the OS itself is still free to use. However, practically all Android devices outside of China come with Google services and apps pre-installed. These Google apps play an important role in any Android device. Google can do this since apps like Google Maps, Youtube, Gmail and Play Store, etc. are not open source and companies need a license agreement in order to have them on their device. The Google play store is also a paid service, it provides security checks and code validation for app updates. This forms a very important security layer on the Android platform.

To add insult to injury, losing the partnership with Google means Huawei will not get timely security updates to the AOSP Android Platform. When Google fixes vulnerabilities, they will first send out their fix to partners, and after partners have had time to publish the update to their devices the patch will become public. This means Huawei's devices will have increased exposure to hackers and viruses before the security patch is published and pushed to Huawei devices.  

Sooperthemes: Providing and Supporting Paid Drupal Extensions

Here at Sooperthemes, we are passionate about the Drupal project. We want to see Drupal thrive and become better than its competitors. In order to do that, we had to find out what are the areas in which Drupal can be improved. As it turns out, there was a strong need for Drupal to be easier to navigate and to use in site-building for users who are in a marketing or communication department and do not have deep technical knowledge. That's why Sooperthemes has developed Glazed Builder. Glazed Builder is a powerful visual page-builder that anyone can use, without needing to write, or see any code. With Glazed Builder, Sooperthemes wants to give accessibility to the power of Drupal to a wider audience and to make it easy for them to build, maintain, and grow a Drupal-based website. 

Although other open source platforms like Android, WordPress, and even Linux OS have had a thriving ecosystem of paid applications and plugins for many years, the same cannot be said for Drupal. Fortunately, with our 13+ years of experience in the Drupal community, we were able to create a combination of product and service that thrives in the Drupal community.  

Conclusion

As it can be seen by the latest trends, open source seems to be here to stay and to become the staple of software in the near future. This prediction is based not only on the benefits that open source software is bringing but also by the amount of interest that major companies in the tech world are showing towards open source software. The most successful recipe seems to be a mix of open source platform and paid-for applications. The paid-for applications are especially handy for components that require more involvement from marketing and UX design experts, who are not typical contributors in open source software communities.

May 27 2019
May 27

Have you thought of hiring a remote developer?

Here at Sooperthemes, we stumbled upon the challenge of looking for remote talent to hire, specifically a remote developer. With this in mind, we scoured the internet for the best websites where you can find a remote developer to hire. Hiring remote staff is a completely different process, compared to hiring an on-site employee. However, this also comes with a lot more freedom from where to choose talent for your business, since remote staff hiring usually gives access to a bigger pool of candidates from different countries or even different continents! This list has a focus on finding remote developers, however, it can also be used to search for other classes of remote professionals. Having said that, here are the top 10 places from where you can hire a remote developer:

Upwork

Upwork is the first on the list of places from where to hire remote employees. It has a lot of job bidding which can drive the cost of hiring down. However, a lot of job bidding can also lead to price fixation and a drop in the quality of work, it’s a double edged sword. Currently, they have an escrow account that is put in place in order to protect both parties involved in the deal, the client and seller. Lately however, there have been a number of negative reviews, from both sides, the clients and sellers. On top of that, there are fees to be paid when using their system in order to make the payment. A workaround for this is to use the platform to make contact with the remote developer and to take the rest of the business outside of the platform.

Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com is similar in concept with Upwork. They do provide a huge pool of talent, however, with a great pool of people to choose from, there are chances to stumble upon untalented workforce. It is also great for project based work. On the other hand, it can get quite pricey, with service fees of 3%. Freelancer.com is the 2nd go-to place were Sooperthemes is looking for remote developers.

Jobrack

Are you searching for labour from Eastern Europe? Then Jobrack is for you. Jobrack prides itself by providing Eastern European talent that work for less money than their Western counterparts. This way businesses can save money while also being able to acquire skilled workforce from the remote corners of Eastern Europe. Jobrack is the Eastern European website dedicated to remote  hiring.

TopTal

TopTal claims to provide the top 3% talent in the industry. They have a rigorous screening session that basically ensures that the people that are selected are indeed top notch professionals. Because of this, TopTal doesn’t have a rating system in place, since it's already implied that they have the best that the market has to offer. On the other hand, hiring off of TopTal will generally result in generally bigger fees to be paid, since talent is usually more expensive compared with lower skilled workforce. If you have a budget and want to cut to the chase, while also saving time on the screening process, then TopTal is the best place for you to find highly skilled workforce.

Guru

Guru is another platform that is similar to Upwork and Freelancer. However, compared to the abovementioned, Guru has better search parameters that enable you to pinpoint the right talent for the job. On top of that, they do have a pay-back feature in case the client is not satisfied with the quality of the work that was delivered to him. One downside is that Guru has a 2.5% handling fee every time a client is making a payment towards the employee. On the other hand, there is a cash back of 3.5% if the payment is done through check, e-check or wire transfer.

Fiverr

Fiverr is the most straightforward platform on this list. You can find here a lot of sellers that are selling their services at a starting price of 5$. However, if you decide you need more complex work done, then you can choose a more expensive package, that will be able to fulfill your higher expectations. Not only that, but if you’re unsatisfied with the work received, then you are able to get a revision from your seller if the package does include them in the price. Some sellers will charge more money for an increased amount of revisions for the project. On top of that, Fiverr is really protective over the buyers at the detriment of the seller, which is good for buyers but sometimes results in unfair results for sellers. This might scare away sellers who can find business elsewhere on better terms.

Indeed

Indeed is a platform that is continuously scouring the internet for job openings. On Indeed, you have the option to be find remote talent, although at a much slower rate than on other platforms. Indeed is not a dedidacated remote staffing website, however there might still be some hidden gems hidden.

GetACoder

If you’re looking to hire more technical staff, like a remote developer, then GetACoder is the right platform on our list. The platform is focused on being able to provide sellers (employees) from 234 different country locations. Because of this, the prices are driven down. On top of that, as a buyer (employer/client) you can post jobs for free. One of the drawbacks are that there are no tests for the employees to pass, meaning that there might be unskilled workforce, thus requiring a good screening process from the side of client.

Drupal Jobs

Drupal Jobs is the place where you can search for Drupal remote developers and on-site. Drupal Jobs is a niche hiring and job seeking platform that focuses on Drupal development jobs. Drupal Jobs may not have the sheer number that other sites have, but given the fact that this website is entirely dedicated for good Drupal developers, it is worth it.

Codementor

Codementor is a website that is specifically dedicated for clients to be able to find software developers. Codementor has a fast and efficient registration process. After that, it doesn’t take much time for a client to be able to find the right freelancer that is willing to do the job for him. If you’re a client that is searching for a remote developer or on-site, then Codementor is definitely the right place from where you can start.

Costs for using these services:

Company

Pricing

Upwork

Freelancer.com

  • 3% or $3, whichever is greater for fixed price project

  • 3% for hourly paid jobs on every payment made to the freelancer

Jobrack

TopTal

Guru

  • Job posting is free. Promoting the job posting starts at $29.95

  • 2.5% handling fee when paying an invoice

  • 3.5% Cash back when paying with check, e-check or wire transfer

Fiverr

Indeed

GetACoder

Drupal Jobs

Codementor

Conclusion

Hiring remote employees always seems like a daunting task, especially if you don't know the right places where to search. However, with this list, now you know where you can find the best remote employees that the market has to offer. On top of that, when keeping in mind the challanges that come when hiring a remote employee, which were discussd in a previous article, you can better mitigate the shortcomings and better leverage the positive aspects of remote hiring.

May 15 2019
May 15

Acquia acquires Mautic

Recently, Acquia has acquired Mautic, an open source marketing automation platform. With this acquisition, Acquia is planning on disrupting the market and its closed technology stack competitors in the automation market. Acquia is a leading provider of digital experience solutions based on open source software Drupal. Now, Acquia product offering will be complemented by the newly acquired automation and campaign management platform, further adding more value proposition to the solutions offered by Acquia. This will provide marketers with a seamless experience, from designing and managing websites, to managing and tweaking communication campaigns across different platforms and digital channels. It seems that Acquia is dead set on making the future of marketing open source.

Here at Sooperthemes we're very excited about this move, because we've been interested in Mautic's development from the beginning and are looking forward to a closer Drupal integration.

Marketing automation is an emerging term in the marketing community. It promises solutions to age-old challenges that marketers face in their daily jobs. But what exactly is marketing automation?

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to software that aims to automate repetitive tasks. For example marketing involves a lot of repetitive tasks such as qualifying leads, emailing, social media posting and other editorial actions. Marketing automation helps to reduce the workload and makes it easier to bring those tasks to completion in a fast and efficient way.

Reasons for using marketing automation

Marketers can use automation paired with inbound marketing to increase the amount of qualified leads. Furthermore, it is easier to drive qualified leads through the sales funnel. Qualified leads have a lower churn rate than unqualified ones. Moreover, when it comes to nurturing these leads, it can involve loads of mundane tasks, which takes time and is inefficient. However, by using marketing automation, it frees precious time for the marketer to be able to undertake more strategic tasks.

Comparison of marketing automation software

HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot and Mautic are major players in the marketing automation market. In this article, there is going to be presented a comparison between the 4 automation platforms.

HubSpot

Hubspot Screenshot

HubSpot is a sales and marketing automation platform that is an all-rounder right out of the box. Out of the box, HubSpot is checking all the requirements for the most common tasks. Furthermore, it has unrivaled training, support and content. It also offers an easy to use interface for marketers, which is easy to use for even the most non-tech savvy of employees. A drawback of using HubSpot is that the contract is for at least 12 months, essentially locking up the customers to use the product. Furthermore, the pricing is also based on contacts, which can increase steeply. On top of that it also has some social media limitation when posting or tagging.

Marketo

Marketo Screenshot

Marketo is the marketing automation solution from Adobe. It was acquired by Adobe in October 2018. Marketo has a starting price of $895 per month. It is a great mid-range solution for companies which require a robust solution but don’t want to spend more than necessary. As its drawbacks, it has a poor landing page and form builder. On top of that, it has limited reporting and analysis functionality. Furthermore, there are steep increases in prices for just some added features.

Pardot

Pardot Screenshot

Pardot is the marketing automation and lead management solution from Salesforce. It has a starting price of $1250 for the most basic package. It allows marketing and sales teams to create and deploy online marketing campaigns in an easy and intuitive way. On top of that, Pardot brings the power to visually test the campaigns that are built, from the perspective of the client. On top of that, with the power of automation and segmentation, Pardot brings the power of smart lead management and generation to the table. Essentially giving the user the capability to nurture a lead based on different triggers that are activated during his customer journey on your website. Drawbacks of the platform include the fact that it lacks the tools for social media management. Furthermore, for A/B testing, user have to get the PRO subscription starting at 2000$ per month that is billed annually.

Mautic

Mautic Screenshot

Mautic has recently been acquired by Aqcuia. The goal here is to deliver the first ever open source marketing cloud to the market. Mautic is an open source software with that has self hosting capabilities. What this means is that companies that are using it, will not have to outsource the servers from the software providing company. This gives the users an increased sense of security, since the data will not be stored on different servers other than their own. On top of that, being open source, the code is available for everyone to see. This means that people have the flexibility to contribute and adapt the code to best suit their business or personal needs. On top of that, Mautic has a great degree of integration, making it easy to integrate with different content management systems such as Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, TYPO3, etc.

One drawback that Mautic encounters is the fact that the installation process can be tricky for a person that is not working in the IT department. This coupled with the fact that Mautic does not have the best available documentation to guide the user to the process, can result in a frustrating experience.

Here is a visual comparison of the features provided by each platform:

Features

HubSpot

Marketo

Pardot

Mautic

Starting price

$200/month

$895/month

$1000/month

Free

Lead scoring

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Lead segmentation

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SMS marketing

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Personalize web content

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Predictive analytics

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Event management

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sales reports

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bi-directional CRM syncing

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Create invoices

Yes

No

No

No

Split testing

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Social CRM

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Future-proofing Marketing

Given the fact that the forecast for the marketing automation market is going to grow and reach $32.6 billion by 2024, it’s safe to say that marketing automation is a growing trend. What this means is that more and more companies will start adopting marketing automation means in order to better and more efficiently fulfill daunting marketing task. Now, with the knowledge of the most important players in the field, you have taken the first step towards an automated future.

May 07 2019
May 07

Freelancing: a growing trend

It seems the trend nowadays is for workers to take the freelancing route. With 36% of the U.S. population currently being freelancers, it seems that this trend is slowly gaining traction. But what does this mean for businesses. It seems that hiring freelancers definitely has its benefits, however it also has its challenges. In this article I’m going to talk about the potential drawbacks that come with hiring a freelancer.

1. Hiring the wrong freelancer

Hiring the right person for the job is a complicated process even for a regular full-time employee. However, when it comes to hiring a freelancer, the interview should not be the same process as when hiring a full-time employee. Working from home requires a high degree of self-motivation, resourcefulness and self-discipline. On top of that, the freelancer should also be resilient to loneliness, since freelancing usually lacks the same social engagement that a conventional workplace can provide. If the freelancer doesn’t have these qualities, then he is going to be unhappy during the 30-40 hours he is working, which is bad for business and bad for humanity.

2. Too many options

After posting a job advertisement a client might be suddenly bombarded with a lot of replies from freelancers who are out to get the gig. But how does the client choose from so many options? Well, some freelancers will set up automatic bots that are automatically replying to the job post based on a few parameters. Most of the time, these type of freelancers will not have read the job requirements. They are not taking their time to make sure that they are a great fit for the job. Then there is another type of freelancers. The ones that report a great  amount of experience, yet they are charging suspiciously low rates. This type of freelancers either don't value their own work or the quality of the work provided is questionable and they use low rates as a cover-up. A client might feel overwhelmed by the options they have at their disposal. The best way to avoid this is to have an effective way on how to screen the freelancers.

3. Communication problems

Another big challenge that comes when hiring a freelancer is one of communication. As the name implies the freelancers are free to work whenever they want or feel inspired. What this means is that as a client you might not receive updates on the status of the work that the freelancer is doing. These can raise a lot of uncertainty for the client as he is kept in the dark with regards to the progress of his project.

4. Payment issues

Freelancers are not like regular employees. Naturally, this means that the payment process is going to be different than that of regular employees. First of all, the freelancer will not appear on the companies payroll, meaning that other alternatives for making the payment have to be found. On top of that, if the freelancer is outsourced from another country, the cost of transferring the money has to be taken into account. It's important to find a way to transfer the money that is advantageous for both the client and the freelancer, this way, confusion regarding the time until the payment is done and high fees when doing the payment through international banks are avoided. Some services that are good to use when paying outsourced employees are Paypal, Skrill and Payoneer. 

5. Being clear in requirements and feedback

In order to avoid frustration on both sides, the client has to be clear in their requirements and in the feedback provided by the freelancer. Otherwise, the client might risk to see the completion of his project in a totally different light than he was expecting. In order to be able to receive the project in the way that he envisioned it, the client has to be as thorough as possible when describing the job requirements. On top of that, regular feedback has to be provided. This way, the client will surely be able to increase the chances that the result he is going to receive is satisfactory.

6. Different language and culture

When it comes to effective communications, speaking a common language is of essence. In most cases, this language is going to be english. Finding a freelancer that is able to communicate at an advanced enough level of english to be able to discuss work related subjects might be difficult. On top of that, the culture of a country also has to be taken into account. Keeping in mind that different cultures have different communication approaches. For example, the difference between low context societies and high context societies, where one relies on explicit communication while the other on implicit communication. On top of that low context and high context are valuing non-verbal communication and cues to different degrees. Being aware of these differences can make communication easier and more pleasant for both parties.

7. Lack of commitment

Freelancers have the possibility to undertake multiple projects from different clients. What this means is that a freelancer will not be able to fully commit to your project, especially if another project is more challenging, exciting or more financially rewarding. On top of that, a freelancer will always prioritize the projects that make more sense from the point of view of the before mentioned aspects, pushing other projects to the side. This can cause a lot of frustration for the client, however, in order to avoid the frustration, the client has to make his project as appealing as possible from every aspect. For example, make sure that the project is challenging and exciting enough to keep the freelancer engaged. On top of that, clients should avoid paying below market-rates for freelancers because that can work as an open invitation for the freelancer to find new clients.

8. Missed deadlines

Another challenge that clients have to face when hiring a freelancers are missed deadlines. Freelancers are having more freedom when it comes to planning their working routine, as long as the contract does not stipulate specific working hours. This means that there is an increased risk of life events happening. Events like weddings, a relative getting sick, funerals seem to be happening at a larger frequency than for regular employees. These events can interfere with the ability of the freelancer to be able to deliver the project in time, thus resulting in a missed deadline.

9. Misunderstandings

Since freelancers don’t work in the office as every other regular employee, they are harder to supervise. What this means is that they are not there for the client to be able to get regular updates, or to provide feedback or to train them. If clear enough instructions were not provided, the freelancer can finish the project in a different manner than the one envisioned by the client. This misunderstanding will lead to frustration on both sides, since the client will demand adjustments and the freelancer will deliver these adjustments while not getting paid for them.

Conclusion

Hiring a remote employee is always a challenge. Especially in these days when the working culture has not fully adapted to the flexibility of the freelancers. However, being aware of the challenges of hiring a freelancer will make it easier to adapt and foster a productive relationship between you and your outsourced employee. So, embrace change and think about the possibility of hiring freelancers.

May 01 2019
May 01

Drupal is known to be a complex and great CMS. However, if you are planning on starting to learn Drupal 8, you will soon notice that it is more complicated than Drupal 7 and other content management systems. Drupal is known to have a steep learning curve, which makes it more challenging to pick up and get started. In this article, I’m going to show you some great books that help you learn Drupal in a systematic, beginner-friendly way. My blog post is going to include 7 Drupal 8 books that are covering the basics and are beginner friendly, books that will challenge the skills of seasoned Drupal developers and books that are teaching specific Drupal skills. Pick your poison!

Apr 25 2019
Apr 25

WordPress and Drupal

WordPress and Drupal, two of the most popular content management systems that are currently on the market. So, in case you're wondering what content management system to pick, keep in mind that both of them serve different needs. The decision that you are going to take is going to be based off your individual needs for your business or yourself. In this article, I am going to aim to make it easier for you to take a decision, by presenting information about both systems. With the help of this article, you should be able to take an informed decision when it comes to making a choice between WordPress and Drupal.

Ease of Installation

WordPress vs Drupal Installation

Left: WordPress's famed 5 minute installation. Right: Sooperthemes custom Drupal distribution with Glazed theme and Glazed Builder included.

WordPress is famed for the ease of their installation process. While they claim that the installation process takes only 5 minutes, you have to take this with a grain of salt. Sure, for somebody who is highly experienced in WordPress, an installation might take 5 minutes. However, for a total beginner this might take longer. 

Drupal on the other hand is a little bit more tricky when it comes to the installation. There are more steps and clicks involved. The experience is very similar to installing WordPress, there is just more of it. Drupal has one advantage over WordPress: Distributions. Distributions are packages of features, design, and demo content that let you install a full functional turn-key website just by running the installer. At sooperthemes.com all our demo websites can be reproduced in your own environment in just about 10 minutes with our custom Drupal distributions.

Functionality

Module and themes statistics for WordPress and Drupal

WordPress is an easy and intuitive easy to use open source CMS. One of the reasons WordPress is simpler is that is has fewer features and options compared to Drupal, so there is a trade-off going on here! Although there are a number of extensions that can make up for what WordPress is lacking, the more complex a website becomes, the harder it is for WordPress to be able to manage the website properly.

Now, when it comes to functionality, Drupal is considered to be highly functional. It was designed from the beginning to be able to meet the users needs as well as software developers' needs. Through modules, Drupal is able to fulfill the many needs a user has for developing a website. On top of that, Drupal is able to handle complex websites in an elegant manner without slowing down the user experience, thanks to its advanced caching layers. Functionality is one of the areas where Drupal is shining.

Here are some of the advanced built-in features that inspire some to choose Drupal over WordPress:

  • Custom content types and block types, equipped with many different field types for your content
  • Multilingual features are more advanced than in most other CMS
  • The views module lets you create custom content listings, with support for fields, tables, portfolio grids, external data sources, and much more. It's a beast and a big part of why Drupal got popular to begin with.
  • Fine-grained permissions for your custom user roles
  • Advanced API's for batch processing, REST services, and many more advanced programming concepts 

Ease of use

WordPress is well known for its ease of use. The dashboard and layout are intuitive and easy to use. This means that even a beginner can make good looking websites. However, it gets harder as the complexity of the website increases.

Compared to this, Drupal is not so beginner friendly. Since Drupal is the more complex CMS from the two, there are more tricks to be learned and discovered when working in it. Drupal has been criticized in the past as having a steep learning curve. Indeed, it is harder to master, however, it also is capable of handling more complexity and it is able to better cater and fulfill the needs of its users.

Fortunately, there are some options you have to make Drupal more pleasing to your content, communications, and marketing staff. For exampel you can simplify their toolbars and menus by limiting their permissions. Sooperthemes also provides a visual drag and drop editor: Glazed Builder provides an entirely new user experience, letting your users design and create pages and interactive content in the frontend, away from Drupal's forms and administrative tools.

How secure are WordPress and Drupal?

Security Officers

Security is one of the most important things when running a website with important user information on it. In case of a security vulnerability of the CMS, a hacker can exploit said vulnerability and get the important user information off the website, such as usernames, passwords, emails, credit card information, etc. This is why security is so important for a content management system.

Since WordPress is the most used content management system to date, it is also bound to be the target many cyber attacks. When it comes to security, WordPress has three components, the core, plugins and themes. The core is always watched by cybersecurity experts who are continuously working identifying and patching vulnerabilities. The plugins and themes are reviewed and patched by the community members, which means that there is an increased chance to suffer a malicious attack by installing a certain plugin or theme that has an undiscovered vulnerability.

Drupal is recognized as the most secure content management system that is currently on the market. This is partly because the security team works on spotting vulnerabilities in the core of Drupal. On top of that, before a module is released to the general public, the code is usually examined for vulnerabilities. After being released to the general public for review, the contributors are then again checking the code for vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a hacker. This measures add up to an increased security compared to its competitors. This is why a lot of big names have trusted Drupal with the security of their websites. Examples are UNESCO, The US Senate, Fox News, Harvard University and many more.

WordPress vs Drupal Costs

WordPress is free to install and use. You can have the option to use WordPress.com, offers both paid plans and a free plan that shows ads on your website. Since WordPress is open source, you can download the software for free if you intend to host it yourself. Hiring a developer to build your website will also have to be taken into account when talking about costs. Generally speaking, hiring a WordPress developer is cheaper than hiring a Drupal developer, simply because a Drupal developer is harder to come by.

Drupal is also free to use and install, because it is an open source software. For a beginner, it is harder to make full use of the features that the CMS has to offer, especially when building a professional website. Depending on the needs of the customer, the website being built might have different degrees of complexity. Some of the most demanding websites are ecommerce websites.

Typical WordPress vs Drupal Pricing

Typical WordPress websites will be informational business websites, or simplistic community platforms based on popular themes and plugins, and would cost anywhere between 500,- USD, and 20,000 USD on the more complex and customized end of the spectrum. Most Drupal agencies aim to take on projects starting at 20,000 USD, and love to build the most complex online platforms, with contracts often running into the hundreds of thousands. These platforms could be so called "Site Factories" where a single platform will be responsible for spawning hundreds of websites, or it may be large content platforms for governmental bodies where hundreds of thousands of content items are managed.

That said, once you've mastered Drupal nothing stops you from making simplistic content websites with it. In fact, with the products and demo websites provided by Sooperthemes, it is very much possible to create a complete business websites within one day, and within a most humble budget.

Conclusion

In conclusion, WordPress is a great CMS for beginners and people that are not demanding complexity from their CMS. When it comes to security, although WordPress has good security practices in place, it is the most widespread CMS, making it a great target for hackers.

Drupal on the other hand, while not as easy to pick up as WordPress, it compensated with the complexity that it can handle. So, for people or organisations that require big websites, Drupal is the way to go. Furthermore, Drupal is perfect for this group of people, simply because it offers a great security.

So before choosing the right CMS for you, you have to be aware of the needs that have to be met by the CMS. Only after that can you take a decision.

Apr 16 2019
Apr 16

By the end of 20018 TYPO3 had a market share of 1.5%, making it the 8th most used CMS at this time. This means that out of all websites in the world, 1.5% of them were built using TYPO3. Drupal on the other hand, had a market share of 4.6%, making it the third most popular CMS to date. Despite the fact that Drupal is slightly younger, it still managed to capture a larger audience compared to TYPO3. But why is that?

Open Source CMS

Drupal and TYPO3 are both open source. What this means is that the code is available to the general public. This results in developers being able to add different pieces of code by themselves, constantly improving the software. Both have dedicated communities which aim to further improve the performance of the CMS’s.

Performance

When it comes to the performance, both of these platforms have a wide range of modules and extensions. The modules and extensions are basically improvements on the core of both. Thus resulting in a high performance and flexibility on both sides. When it comes to extensions, TYPO3 has 60.000+ of them available, making sure that there is something specific to fulfill any users needs. Drupal also boasts a wide variety of modules, which gives the CMS the ability to cater to the needs of every user. Unlike Drupal, TYPO3 also runs an internal language called TypoScript. Users can leverage it to build additional elements including dynamic content.

Drupal allows the creation and management of different types of content such as text, blogs, videos, podcasts, images etc.

TYPO3 is also able to handle forms, tables, images and different pieces of multimedia. It also allows a lot of control over the layout of the page.

Language support

Globe of planet EarthTYPO3 is famed for its massive availability in over 50 languages. However, Drupal is available in over 100 languages. This makes it even more impressive when it comes to the high degree at which Drupal is able to help with the needs of its users.

Scalability

Scalability is defined by the desirable property of a website to be able to handle a growing amount of work in a timely and elegant manner. Both were engineered to be able to handle large amounts of data and traffic. This makes them both desirable for large enterprise websites.

Security

Security is one of the areas that both systems are putting a lot of effort in. Given the fact that they have to protect the costly data of large universities, enterprises and businesses, both are taking this matter seriously. Drupal and TYPO3 both have security teams that are constantly searching for vulnerabilities to report to the communities, while also working on fixing the issues. These are the reasons why both Drupal and TYPO3 are both trusted by enterprises and business when it comes to security issues.

Cost Of Implementation

Compared to CMS that are not Enterprise-grade, Drupal and TYPO3 are both more difficult to be installed and be properly customized. Both systems are offering plenty of options for developers to be able to specifically customize the website to meet the user specific needs. This comes at a price however. The price to be paid for such high customizability comes in the form of a steep learning curve. This makes it hard for beginners to fully maximize the potential of both CMS’s. On top of that, learning TYPO3 seems to be more complicated than to learn Drupal. Because of the simple fact that TYPO3 uses also TypoScript. It is the internal language of the system which has to be learned in order to master the CMS.  

One advantage with Drupal is that you can install our visual page editor module and provide a state-of-the-art design and editing experience to your client or your communication department

Conclusion

In conclusion, both CMS’s are legit options when it comes to developing huge scale websites for businesses or enterprises. However, choosing one of them rests entirely on each user’s specific needs. Also, Drupal still has a larger market than TYPO3. Even though it is the younger of them both. This means that Drupal is able to better cater to the specific needs of its users, compared to its competition.

Apr 10 2019
Apr 10

Who is choosing Drupal as a CMS?

Picking the right type of CMS for any website is no easy task. However, when it comes to complex websites that have to be shown on a wide variety of displays and in 10 different languages, the choice is even harder. In this article, I am going to tell you the reason why universities such as Harvard, Oxford, MIT, Stanford etc. are choosing Drupal as their default Content Management System.

Apr 02 2019
Apr 02

Article 13: Copyright re-invented

The European Union has not updated the copyright laws since 2001. Now they are aiming to change that and bring the copyright laws in line with the “digital era”. Most of these changes are uncontroversial, however, Article 13 will have a huge impact on the way that content is shared on the internet. What it basically means is that, hosting platforms will be responsible to make sure that the content that is uploaded is going to be in line with the copyright laws.

How Article 13 shifts the balance of power for creators and publishers

The goal of article 13 is to fix the problem of value distribution amongst a certain set of industries, especially the music industry. The problems with the Article 13 is with the services towards which it is addressed, while also suffering from having a broad yet vague goal. Problem is that it will apply to all types of copyrighted works. On top of that, there is no reason for an article that is intended to strengthen the bargaining power of the music industry to impose costly responsibilities on platforms that have nothing to do with sharing music. Additionally, since the article seems so vague, there are bound to be misunderstandings and misinterpretations which will lead to the need of taking legal action for the matter to be settled.

Buckle up for the consequences of Article 13

So how are hosting platforms going to tackle this new challenge? Basically, human reviewing is going to be out of the question. The reason for this is that consistently monitoring huge amounts of data that is being uploaded in a timely manner is virtually impossible, unless you have a small army at your disposal. What this means, is that platform will have to put automated filters in place in the forms of BOTs or AI. Ok, so where is the problem?

Big corporations win, small companies lose

One of the problems is that a system like this will be extremely expensive to adopt. What this means is that smaller platforms will not be able to adopt such a system and might be forced to opt out of the game altogether. Basically, this will stifle the emergence of innovation in the EU, brought by new small competitors on the market. On top of that, already established giants in the tech industry will be able to afford such a system, meaning that they will be able to hold even more power.

Another problem with this approach, is that an AI or BOT is not going to be able to tell the difference between truly copyrighted content and content that is meant for humour.

Is this goodbye to the meme culture?

What this means is that if a funny picture is based on a scene from a movie, the filtering system will regard this as copyrighted content and remove it from the internet.

Although the EU has made it clear that the exceptions to the rule will be content that is meant to be a “quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody or pastiche”, the problem with how these contents will be told apart from real copyright infringements by filtering systems still remains the same.

“There is a module for that”

With Drupal being a free open-source CMS there is a chance for the Drupal community to be able to shine and bring an advantage to the game. By developing a free filtering module, Drupal based websites will have a clear advantage over the competition. This will rebalance the power between the tech giants and small companies, as instead of having to pay for the software developed by Google or Facebook for example, the companies will have it for free provided by Drupal. With this, small companies will have an extra incentive to adopt or migrate to Drupal. In this case, Drupal is going to be their knight in shining armor.

Who is exempt from Article 13

In an attempt to not completely destroy the start-up ecosystem, the EU has put a couple of “mitigation measures” in place that platforms have to adopt in order to not be liable for the unauthorised content that the users are uploading.

These “mitigation measures” are as follows:

  1. All platforms must make “best efforts” to license copyrighted works uploaded by their users. A lot of this will basically fall upon how “best efforts” will be interpreted. This rather vague term is troublesome, since having to pay so many licenses will basically be impossible for smaller players in the field.

  2. In addition to this, all platforms will have to make “best efforts to take down works upon notice from rightsholders”. There is nothing new here since this was already an obligation that platform already had under the E-Commerce Directive.

  3. Additionally, all the platforms with 5 million monthly users will have to make sure that the removed copyrighted content will remain removed. What this means is that these platforms will have to bring filters to the game, in order to prevent the re-upload of the content.

  4. Lastly, all platforms that are older than 3 years and have more than 10 million yearly revenue will have to make “best efforts to ensure the unavailability of specific works for which the rightsholders have provided the service providers with the relevant and necessary information.''

 

In light of these exceptions to the rule, only a small amount of platforms and companies will not be held accountable, for a short period of time,  for the unauthorised content that is uploaded to their website.

Articles' 13 little brother, Article 11

Besides Article 13, another article was approved, Article 11. This one is a little easier to digest. Article 11 aims to target news aggregators like Google or Apple, who use AI-driven algorithms to find the most important news of the day.  Basically it helps news outlets to generate more money for the content they create, by imposing a tax on the snippet of information that is shared on the search engines or on social media. Now, news outlets will be able to charge Facebook a tax for sharing the snippet of information with the audience. This may lead to a decrease in the amount of news you see shared on social media, since now, it is going to be more expensive to do so. This might affect smaller news publishers to grow a bigger audience, because it is going to be harder to gain exposure. However, only time will tell the outcome of this directive.

How will these changes affect you as a site owner?

Basically, website owners will have to think carefully about the content that is present on their website. This will mean that when you are hosting a website, you have to make sure that you already have a license for the content that you share on there. Also, when embedding a video or sharing a snippet of information from a blog on your website, you are going to have to be sure that you have the copyrights in place, while also having to mind the tax for sharing the blog information. If this is not the case, then you either have to take down the unapproved content or you might be liable to face legal action. Either way, the consequences for breaching the copyright law are yet to be defined.

How will you be affected as a regular user?

In the case that you are a designer, musician, photographer, blogger or any other profession that creates content which can be published online, you will be entitled to copyright your creations. After that, you will be able to track down however is sharing your content without your permission and either ask for some kind of compensation or ask for your content to be removed from their website. If the other party does not comply, then you will be eligible to take legal action. This is how it has always been. However, you might have trouble when trying to upload content on the internet since the filters might regard your content as copyright, even though it is not intended to be so, effectively affecting the content that can be posted and also consumed by the people from Europe.

There is still time to adapt

Keep in mind that the Article 13 and Article 11 are basically European directives. Meaning that every member state will have 2 years, after the decision was taken, at their disposal to be able to interpret and adopt the laws as they see fit. What this means is that website owners will have plenty of time to make adjustments to their websites in order to adapt to the new directive.

Mar 27 2019
Mar 27

The biggest reason why customers are leaving is usually the fact that they have received an unsatisfactory service or product from the company. Nowadays, consumers are quick to penalize a company for an unsatisfactory experience. On top of that they are well aware that their influence in the marketplace is stronger than ever, are willing to use that power to influence your companies reputation for both good or ill. The leading causes for customers leaving is that the company or brand is not taking into consideration the customer needs. On top of that, providing a poor customer support and not learning from the feedback also adds up to the customers leaving. Naturally, not every customer experience can be a positive one, at some point there are bound to be some mistakes, maybe a parcel is delivered on the wrong address or the product delivered is in poor condition. Now, when those situations arise, the customer is taking into account how the company is responding to those situations. If the client has the feeling that he is putting more effort in fixing the problem than the company, then he is way more inclined to spread the word about his bad experience to others, while also being more prone towards switching brands altogether.

Mar 21 2019
Mar 21

The value that the community brings to the development of Drupal

Drupal is known for the community that it has amassed as an open source software. But what is the value that the community brings to the development of Drupal?

First off, drupal is an open source CMS. What that means is that everybody can download and mingle with it. Because of this, Drupal has gathered a community of supportive members. Soon, the community has started to actively contribute with code and ways to further developed and improve Drupal. Drupal has more than 42,000 modules that were developed by the community. On top of that, regular security issues are discovered and fixed by the members in their own free time. Also, users are taking their time to answer questions posted on forums by new members to guide them in the Drupal world. This has led Drupal to be known as one of the most active, helpful, dedicated and loyal communities in the world.

DrupalCon Nashville 2018 Copyright Amazee Labs

Photo's DrupalCon Nashville 2018 copyright Amazee Labs

We all come together at DrupalCon

So where do the members of the community spend their time when not sitting in front a of a screen coding?

Well, the biggest event of the year is the DrupalCon. Every year it takes place in another location. With two conventions scheduled for 2019, one in sleepless Seattle and the other in incredible Amsterdam, DrupalCon is sure to gather a big crowd this year. Activities which are scheduled include keynotes with inspiring figures from inside and outside the community, trainings, summits, birds of a feather meetings and diverse social events.

DrupalCon is a great opportunity to meet and connect with new people, while acquiring more knowledge about Drupal and the direction it's heading in. On top of that, there is a chance of engaging into conversation with highly skilled people with expert knowledge in their domain, which can guide you and give you tips and tricks on what to do. So, if you’re a Drupal enthusiast, be sure to grab a ticket, pack your luggage and join the biggest Drupal social event of the year.

DrupalCon Nashville 2018 Copyright Amazee Labs

Photo's Drupal Camp Vienna 2015 copyright Amazee Labs

Cosy get-togethers in Drupal Camps

Now that we talked about the biggest social event of the year, Drupalcon, we can take a look at what the Drupal community is doing for the rest of the year. The community also organises smaller events, throughout the year, for regional groups of people. These meetings are more frequent than the DrupalCons. The activities which are undertaken in those camps are usually talks held by speakers on different subjects of interest to the community. The camps also offer training talks for beginners. The main focus of these type of events is to find out more about Drupal, share your Drupal experience and also to meet the local Drupal community.

List upcoming Drupal camps:

Name of the Camp Date Location Nerd Summit 2019 16-17.03.2019 United States, Amherst MidCamp 2019 20-23.03.2019 United States, Chicago Frone End Accesibility Summit 08.04.2019 United States, Seattle DrupalCamp Spain 6-12.05.2019 Spain, Conil de la Frontera Drupaldelphia 10.05.2019 United States, Philadelphia Secure Open Source Day - Haarlem Edition 11.05.2019 Netherlands, Haarlem Stanford DrupalCamp 17-18.05.2019 United States, Stanford Frontend United 17-18.05.2019 Netherlands, Utrecht DrupalCamp Belarus 17-18.05.2019 Belarus, Minsk DrupalCamp Kyiv 25-26.05.2019 Ukraine, Kyiv Flyover Camp 31-02.06.2019 United States, Kansas City DrupalCamp Poland 31-02.06.2019 Poland, Wrocław Drupal Developer Days 10-14.06.2019 Romania, Cluj-Napoca Save the Date - Design 4 Drupal Boston 26-28.06.2019 United States, Cambridge DrupalCamp Asheville 2019 12-14.07.2019 United States, Asheville DrupalCamp Colorado 02-04.08.2019 United States, Denver Cornell DrupalCamp 26-27.09.2019 United States, Ithaca DrupalSouth Hobart 27-29.11.2019 Australia, Hobart

How are new Drupal users integrated?

Now that we know how the Drupal community likes to spend its time, we can have a look at how the newcomers are being integrated in the community. First, the newbies can attend training sessions which are held on multiple occasions over the course of the year, with different locations. So, if you’re getting an interest in Drupal but don’t know where to start, you can search for the nearest Drupal beginner onboarding camp to find more about Drupal and the Drupal community. On top of that, you can also rely on the Drupal community forums by posting questions there and letting a more experienced user answer your question.

DrupalCon Nashville 2018 Copyright Amazee Labs

Community spotlight photo collection, indidual images' rights belong to their respectful owners. Collage created by Sooperthemes and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Drupal community spotlight

Drupals open source means that everybody can get involved, making the community vibrant and full of inspirational stories. The community has the spotlight section where there are numerous articles about different members of the community and their journey from being a beginner to a well respected member and contributor.

Ildephonse Bikino

Another inspiring story is that of Ildephonse Bikino. He discovered Drupal through his job. He had the opportunity to attend the DrupalCon from 2016 held in New Orleans via a scholarship provided by the Drupal Association. There, he saw the opportunities that the open source software can bring. This led him to host his first Drupal Global Training Day in Rwanda, where he was expecting a number of 50 atendees. However, to his surprise, this number quickly grew and he had a list of 388 participants. Not wanting to turn his back on the Drupal enthusiasts he rose to the challenge and transformed a one day training into eight sessions spread across multiple weekends. This way, he made sure that every Drupal enthusiast received a proprer training. His dedication to the cause is what makes him a trully inspiring person and gives us a reason to tell his story.

Kevin Thull

Another great spotlight is the one about Kevin Thull. He got involved into Drupal through freelancing and started really getting involved with the community by the time the book Using Drupal 6 came out. He is known for being the mastermind behind the recording of the different Drupal events. He started recording drupal camps back in 2013. At first, everybody questioned his decision, however, he stayed true to his belief, that it is important to record those events. To date, he is personally responsible for recording over 800 sessions and giving up countless of hours of his time to achieve this feat. He was awarded with the Aaron Winborn Award in 2018 for his contribution to the Drupal community.

Rachel Olivero

For example, we have the case of Rachel Olivero which has recently passed away. She first started getting involved with the community at the DrupalCon 2017 in her hometown of Baltimore, where she participated for the first time in a code sprint and also reported her first bug. She was engaging constantly with the community on social platforms. As a blind person, she led an accesibility breakthrough at DrupalCon Nashville. She was always sharing her knowledge and expertise regarding this topic. Her aim was to make life easier for the users with disabilities. She understood the importance of diversity and so she was also engaged with the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Team. Although she was part of the community for a short period of time, she left her mark through her actions and her contributions.

Aaron Winborn and the award named after him

The Aaron Winborn Award, also known as the “Academy Award” of the Drupal Association is an honor given to the members of the Drupal community that show personal integrity, kindness and an above-and-beyond commitment to the community. It was named in the honor of Aaron Winborn, a big community contributor which passed away after losing a battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. A specific disease which causes the death of the neurons that are controlling voluntary muscles. In order to remember the contribution which Aaron Winbord has brought to the Drupal community, the award was named after him after his death in 2015. To date, the award was given to 4 people which had a big contribution to the community and namely Cathy Theys, Gábor Hojtsy, Nikki Stevens and Kevin Thull. Right now, the nominations for the next awarding are open, so be sure to nominate your favourite member of the Drupal community.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the community is of utmost importance to the development of Drupal. The community is what keeps the CMS alive, while also in a costant state of evolution. Drupal has made it possible for people of different cultural backgrounds to cooperate and stand united for the same cause.  This reflects well on the unofficial motto ,"Come for the code, stay for the community".

Mar 14 2019
Mar 14

Using Drupal as your default CMS undoubtedly has advantages, however it also comes with its negative sides. The price you have to pay for its customizability, is the complexity and steep learning curve. Here at Sooperthemes, we have thought of you and developed an easy-to-use solution for you: Glazed Builder. With this visual Drupal page builder, you and your team of content creators and marketeers will be able to create rich content and beautiful web pages for your business, without having to touch a line of code.

In this article, I present to you 8 ways through which a visual page builder like Glazed Builder can further create value for your business.

 

1. Cut in half your landing page costs and time-to-market

Having a good landing page is paramount to the success of your business. However, it takes plenty of time and money to find the right people and tools to do it. With Glazed Builder as your Drupal 8 page builder however, creating a landing page has never been easier, cheaper and faster. Content creators and marketeers will be able to to create a visually stunning landing page in a matter of minutes, without having to rely on the IT department.

2. Stress less: Reduce employee turnover in your content team with true WYSIWYG

Are your employees stressed that the webpage they are building is going to look completely different than they imagined? Well, with Glazed Builder, your content creators will experience true WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). That means that whatever they have imagined for your webpage is going to be their final result. No more senseless stress for your content creating team.

3. Get twice as much Drupal site-building work done by your most expensive staff: Developers

Developers, they are the most expensive members of your staff. However, they do not get work done as fast as you would like. The way to increase productivity is to have developers use Glazed Builder as your default Drupal page builder to build dynamic pages and dashboards that leverage drupal's block and views systems. This way, you will make their job easier while also increasing their productivity.

4. Same-day web design and publishing by using the pre-built templates

You need to launch a webpage in a matter of hours and you don’t have the inspiration necessary to design a layout? Fret not, Glazed Builder, the Drupal page builder, has you covered. With a plethora of templates available, you just have to select the right template for your business, insert your content, and post it. It has never been easier.

5. Content creators will produce better, more effective content than your competitors.

Do you want to stand-out from your competition in terms of content creation? Glazed Builder can help you and your content creators unleash their creativity. With an endless amount of customizability, Glazed Builder is sure to provide the right tools and power for your content creators to achieve their wildest dreams. When it comes to customizability, with Glazed Builder, the sky's the limit.

6. Reduce onboarding time and training costs: Reduce Drupal’s steep learning curve for content creators and marketeers

Every time there is a new tool introduced to your business, you have to pay a large amount of money for training your employees. The same is applicable for Drupal, since it is a highly complex CMS, it has a steep learning curve and requires highly skilled developers to be able to make it truly shine. However, Glazed Builder was engineered to be able to be used by even the most non-tech savvy of its users. This way, your staff will be able to quickly understand how to operate the visual builder and you will be able to reduce the time and money spent on training your personnel.

7. Save thousands on cloud hosting costs with a frontend tool that runs in your browser, not in your cloud

If you're thinking that a Drupal 8 website with the additional features of Glazed Builder requires a beefy server, you're wrong! 90% of Glazed Builder's magic is happening in the browser. Even our Drupal 8 demo sites with hundreds of demo content items run perfectly fine on affordable shared hosting solutions like our favorite Drupal hosting A2Hosting.

8. Better performance attracts a bigger number of visitors on your webpage

Even if you have top-notch content on your website, it’s irrelevant when it takes a long time to load. Most site visitors don’t have patience when it comes to loading a webpage, they would simply exit and visit the next one if it takes too much time. However, Drupal is the fastest out of the bunch when it comes to speed. It takes the least amount of time to load a page, which means that the likelihood of visitors leaving significantly drops.

 

Conclusion on Drupal Page Builder

Now that you know all of this, what are you waiting for?

Start improving your business today by using our visual page like Glazed Builder.

Mar 06 2019
Mar 06

What is inbound marketing?

So what is inbound marketing exactly? Well, some professionals are calling it “new marketing”. This type of marketing is focusing on delivering value upfront to your potential customers. This way, your potential customers will have already benefited from your marketing efforts before having to contribute with something of value to them. Inbound marketing is focused on delivering value, creating trust and developing a loyal and supportive customer base for your awesome brand.

What are the main pillars of inbound marketing?

So, what is the framework on which inbound marketing is operating? Well, inbound marketing has at its core three main concepts: 

  • Attract: The first pillar is the attraction, which inbound marketing aims to generate. Inbound marketing is not only focusing on attracting leads, but it focuses on attracting the right type of leads, the ones which are more likely to convert and buy or use your services and products and ultimately become your happy customers. Instead of preying on the attention of the potential customer, it instead lets the customer come to your business on his own accord and on his own terms. In order to create this attraction, you have to use the content marketing strategy. What this means is that you have to create relevant content for your ideal customer. The content can come in various forms such as blog posts, informational videos, articles, books, e-books etc.

  • Engage: Now that you have attracted the right kind of leads, you cannot sit back and relax with a piña colada in your hand. The next step is to further engage with your leads. To do this, you can engage in conversations with your leads through different mediums, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, E-mail, bots, live chat, etc. This is an important step because it facilitates the opportunity to foster important relationships with your audience. Next, you have to capture the information of your prospects by using conversion tools such as CTA, forms and lead flows. This will help you in creating a personalized experience for your prospects on your website. When people feel that their experience was optimized for them, it creates trust and brand loyalty.

  • Delight: The final pillar of the inbound marketing is delight. How do you delight your prospects you might wonder. It’s easy, now that you have collected relevant information about your leads, you can further engage with your audience by using marketing automation and conversations. This will ensure that your Emails are targeting the right people with the right information every time. On top of that, create content that your leads will be happy to share with their family, friends, pets etc. Bonus points, if you deliver this content in your audience's favorite content format, like video for example.

Inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing

Now that you have a clearer understanding of what inbound marketing means, let’s take a look at what outbound marketing is and how the two of them compare.

Outbound marketing refers to any kind of marketing where a company is sending out a message to the audience. In outbound marketing, companies are competing for the attention of the customers. How do they do that? Well, in order to grab their attention, companies who use outbound marketing are usually interrupting their audience right in a moment when they are focused on something else with an ad that is totally irrelevant for them. Outbound marketing uses a “spray and pray” strategy in the hopes of collecting leads. What this means, is that they try to show their message to as many people as possible and hope to get noticed. However, because of this approach, people are increasingly getting more desensitized to the outbound marketing, meaning that people have learned to ignore the traditional types of marketing. On top of that, the advent of ad blockers has made it increasingly more difficult for marketers to get their message to reach their audience. The consequences of this being that outbound marketing becomes increasingly expensive, while generating low yields.

But how does inbound and outbound marketing compare in terms of statistics? Well, according to the statistics, inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound. On top of that, businesses that rely on inbound marketing are saving more than 14$ dollars per new acquired customer. 79% percent of business that have a blog report positive ROI for inbound marketing. Around 80% of business decision makers prefer to get their information out of a series of articles rather than advertisements. Properly implemented inbound marketing strategy is 10 times more effective for lead conversion than outbound marketing. The average cost per lead is dropping by 80% after 5 months of consistent inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is 62% cheaper than outbound marketing and it triples the leads.

Now, taking into account these statistics, it’s clear that inbound marketing is more efficient than traditional marketing.

How can inbound marketing influence your Drupal Business?

But how is this relevant to my Drupal business you might ask? Well, first of all, by creating awesome content for your business you will be able to attract the right type of leads, the ones that are already interested in your business or in the field that your business operates in. These leads are more likely to convert to happy customers. On top of that, you will significantly reduce your costs for marketing, all while generating more quality leads and creating awesome value and content for your prospects.

Another cool aspect of inbound marketing for your Drupal business is that it generates leads long after the content was posted, as long as it is updated from time to time. Think of inbound marketing as a long term investment in your business. You make the investment now and you reap the benefits over a longer period of time, than for example with outbound marketing. On top of that, and inbound marketing strategy won't stop working in case you run out of budget. Blogs, articles and videos posted on your website will still continue to generate traffic long after you have run out of budget, which is another great perk of doing inbound marketing.

Another great aspect of adopting an inbound marketing strategy for your Drupal business, is that it provides a clear overview over the Return on Investment. Traditional outbound marketing is really ineffective when it comes to measuring how many people see your advert. Inbound marketing on the other hand provides a transparent examination over the results that it generates and the impact that those leads have on you business's ROI.

Conclusion

Marketing is an ever evolving profession and people have to be constantly keeping up with the latest trends and emerging technologies in order to stay ahead of the game. The same goes for inbound marketing, it is a new way of doing marketing, which is essentially the opposite of the “old school marketing”. Now, companies and people have to adapt to a new “cool kid on the block”, but for the best results, like all things in life, a balance has to be achieved between outbound and inbound marketing.

Feb 26 2019
Feb 26

Turmoil in the Drupal community?

Considering the fact that there are around 800.000 websites currently operating on Drupal 7, there will be a huge resource drain for upgrading to the latest installment. Not only will be it be an expensive feat to achieve, but also time demanding. Quite frankly speaking, there is not enough time to be able to upgrade all of the Drupal 7 websites and also not enough Drupal developers to be able to take on the workload. So, what do you think, is it feasable for so many websites to upgrade to Drupal 9 in such a short period of time?

Drupal 9 will be released in the summer of 2020

Drupal 8 has been released on November 19, 2015, this makes it 3 years old already. Its successor, Drupal 9, is making its way towards a release. Drupal 9 is scheduled to be released on 3rd June in 2020. But what does this mean for Drupal 7 and 8?

For starters, Drupal 8 and 7 will stop receiving support in 2021. This is mainly because Symfony 3, one of the biggest dependencies of Drupal 8, will stop receiving support. Drupal 7 will not be backed up by the official community and by the Drupal association on Drupal.org. What this means is that the automated testing services for Drupal 7 will be shut down. On top of that, the Drupal Security Team will stop providing security patches. If you are not able to upgrade to Drupal 9, there will still be some organisations that will provide Drupal 7 Vendor Extended Support, which will be a paid service. However, despite this, there will be a approximately year's worth of time to be able to plan for and upgrade to the latest installment of Drupal.

Overview over the consequences for Drupal 7

What this means for your Drupal 7 sites is, as of November 2021:

  • Drupal 7 will no longer be supported by the community at large. The community at large will no longer create new projects, fix bugs in existing projects, write documentation, etc. around Drupal 7.
  • There will be no more core commits to Drupal 7.
  • The Drupal Security Team will no longer provide support or Security Advisories for Drupal 7 core or contributed modules, themes, or other projects. Reports about Drupal 7 vulnerabilities might become public creating 0 day exploits.
  • All Drupal 7 releases on all project pages will be flagged as not supported. Maintainers can change that flag if they desire to.
  • On Drupal 7 sites with the update status module, Drupal Core will show up as unsupported.
  • After November 2021, using Drupal 7 may be flagged as insecure in 3rd party scans as it no longer gets support.
  • Best practice is to not use unsupported software, it would not be advisable to continue to build new Drupal 7 sites.
  • Now is the time to start planning your migration to Drupal 8.

Source: https://www.drupal.org/psa-2019-02-25

Drupal promises a smooth upgrade to Drupal 9

Good news is that, the change from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will not be as abrupt as the change from Drupal 7 to 8 was. This is because Drupal 9 will be based off of Drupal 8, in fact, the first release of Drupal 9 will be similar to the last release of Drupal 8. In short, there will be some new features added, the deprecated code will be removed and the dependenciess will be updated, however, the Drupal experience will not be reinvented. Now, in order to have really smooth upgrade, the only thing necessary is to keep your Drupal 8 updated at all times. This will ensure that your upgrade will come as fluid as possible, without many inconveniences.

What is the best course of action to follow when upgrading to Drupal 9

Well, at first, you have a couple of options at your disposal:

  1. You either wait for Drupal 9 to be launched and then make the change from 7 directly to 9.
  2. You make first the change to Drupal 8 from 7, which is going to be an abrupt change anyway, and then you prepare for the change to Drupal 9.
  3. Your final option would be to find a new CMS altogether, which would be the most resource hungry option out of all. 

So, considering the choices you have at hand, the best of the bunch would be to start preparing for upgrade to Drupal 8 and then, when the time comes, to Drupal 9. By doing this, you will have enough time to plan ahead your upgrade roadmap, without having to compromise on the quality of the upgrade by rushing it. On top of that, this is an opportunity to review how good your website is at attracting leads and converting those leads to sales. Moreso, you can check if your website is still in line with your enterprise vision and mission statement, if not, then here is an opportunity to make your site reflect the beforenamed aspects of your business.

Even though change might look scary to some of you, this is an opportunity to also evaluate and improve your online digital presence. So make use of this chance at its fullest to create and provide a better online environment for your potential and current customers.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web