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Feb 25 2021
Feb 25

Looking to build or revamp your newspaper or media website and don't know where to start?

In this e-book, the team that built award-winning and nominated digital experiences will guide you through the key technologies, tools, and components you will need to build a holistic and engaging news and media digital experience.

The information you will gain from downloading the "How To Build A Winning News Website" guide will feature essential UX features that were implemented by our team's recent digital media project for Al-Khaleej - one of the most prestigious newspaper publishers in the Middle East region.

Feb 22 2021
Feb 22

Through our decade long history in building nonprofit digital experience we've identified a unique set of challenges that almost all nonprofits and NGOs suffer from - and how Drupal was uniquely and strategically positioned as the ideal technology to transform those weaknesses into strengths.

Let's take a look at those challenges and how choosing the right CMS features address them:

 

10 Must-Have Features in a Nonprofit Website CMS

1. Tailored Flexibility

Challenge: Your current CMS limits your team's ability to create dynamic digital experiences for your website visitors.

First, filter the list of CMS options you are looking into by listing your strategic objectives and aligning them with the technical capabilities that will support your nonprofit's ability to deliver results.

Typically, a nonprofit's digital strategy objectives include:

  • Community-centric digital presence
  • Scalable expansion
  • Enhanced outreach
  • Easy, simple, yet rich UX/UI
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Secure donations
  • GDPR, W3A, and WCAG 2.0 compliance
  • Safe data migration

For nonprofits who need a site builder with maximum flexibility tailored to the needs of complex nonprofit digital experiences, Varbase (Drupal 9 CMS) is an ideal choice as it comes with hundreds of pre-built modules, customizable themes, and multiple content types.

Need assistance in aligning your business and technical requirements? Book a call for with our team of consultants for a free consultation today!

2. Enterprise Security Measures

Challenge: Threats are evolving and your nonprofit lacks the resources to hire full-time DevOps to manage, update, and upgrade your IT infrastructure security.

If you cannot demonstrate your ability to keep your website visitors information and transactions secure - your nonprofit's digital presence is practically non-existent.

Cybersecurity threats are evolving all the time and it only makes sense that the CMS you choose is supported by enterprise-grade security modules constantly updated by the CMS vendor.

Make sure to ask potential vendors and service providers to demonstrate their security credentials.

Ask questions such as:

  • How often do you upgrade security modules?
  • How do you monitor projects built on your CMS?
  • What is the response rate when it comes to risk assessment and management?
  • Do you have in-house DevOps?
  • Are your information security management systems certified by ISO? Learn more about ISMS ISO certification.

3. User-Friendly Backend

Challenge: You have a diverse staff with varying to non-existent levels of technical expertise.

Your nonprofit organization is comprised of non dedicated part-timers and volunteers with diverse backgrounds - but this shouldn't hinder your ability to deliver results efficiently.

Everyone involved in content publishing, site building, and marketing should be able to use your website CMS in full collaboration with the rest of the organization based on user-specific roles regardless of their technical knowledge or first language.

Be sure to select a CMS that is supported by:

  • A multilingual backend for all users
  • Help and "How-to" guides
  • Technical documentation
  • Built-in support features in the CMS for each user role and activities
  • 24/7 support for complex technical issues
  • Open-source - wider community of developers to provide solutions if needed

For example, global nonprofits that employ diverse teams from around the world such as MSF, ICARDA, and UNHCR needed a multilingual Drupal 9 CMS like Varbase to build complex, custom, and engaging digital experiences.

4. Multisite Functionalities

Challenge: Lack of funds to build localized microsites or websites for your nonprofit's global missions and initiatives.

Rather than struggle with different standards and skill sets required to manage different websites; enterprises have realized that Drupal's multi-site functionality enables them to have a focused IT team with fewer burdens and distractions due to the fact that all websites under their umbrella are built using a single CMS installation and framework.

The same benefits extend to marketing departments who will find that publishing content from the same CMS is easier and more efficient.

Instead of spending money and hiring teams to manage expensive numerous website development projects - invest in a CMS that provides multisite functionalities:

  • Centralized management: Build multiple sites and domains managed by the same CMS and team.
  • Faster to market: Launch those projects quicker because they share all critical modules, themes, and branding of your nonprofit.
  • Efficient upgrades: All websites will be upgraded and updated through the same CMS.
  • Lower total cost of ownership: Save resources hiring teams to build and manage new digital projects.

If you are a nonprofit with missions across various regions around the world - localizing your digital experience and messaging to those locations and beneficiaries will be a massive boon to your digital strategy.

Identify the Right Multisite Solution Architecture for Your Enterprise

5. Mission Critical Integrations

Challenge: Not all CMSs can integrate with tools and tech you currently rely on (or will need to in the future).

The modern-day digital experience relies on an interconnected web of channels, systems, tools, and technologies that support your nonprofit's digital experience.

From built-in performance dashboards to custom complex integrations - those technologies must be integrated into your website and each serves a specific purpose.

Such as:

  • Analytics and reporting (i.e. Google Marketing Studio)
  • Omni-channel marketing automation (i.e. Campaign Studio)
  • Email marketing (i.e. MailChimp)
  • Social media tracking (i.e. Facebook Pixel)
  • Engagement (i.e. Disqus)
  • Customer relationship management (CRMs such as Eloqua and Hubspot)
  • Communities (i.e. OpenSocial)
  • Video publishing (i.e. Vimeo and Brightcove)
  • ... and much more.

Drupal has quickly become a strategic asset to nonprofits and NGOs around the world due to its ability to scale and integrate with almost anything out there in the market - and more importantly, custom-tailored integrations.

 

6. SEO Friendly Content Structures

Challenge: Lack of technical SEO knowledge harming website ranking on search engines.

Content structure is key to being rewarded by search engines like Google with higher exposure and ranking on their search engine results pages.

The IASLC, a US-based global nonprofit, is a content-heavy digital experience and struggled with content structure and information architecture-related challenges that negatively impacted their UX score.

When their new digital experience launched on Drupal 9 CMS Varbase - the simple transformation of their legacy menu and navigation to a user-centric structured menu provided the following benefits:

  • Categorized and clear content structure
  • Enhanced indexing when crawled by Google’s bots
  • Clear website visitor paths
  • Mobile-first UX design

7. Enhanced Content Publishing and Outreach

Challenge: Your target audiences speak different languages and have different preferences when it comes to content.

Content structure and user-centric UX/UI design will definitely help you maintain high page performance scores and core web vitals for search engine crawlers, but what about your human visitors?

Not all of them can read the same language - in fact, most would rather watch a video than read.

Does that mean you have to hire a translator? More marketers? Rebuild duplicate pages for each language?

Nope.

With a push of a button, CMSs like Varbase enable your team to translate, review, and publish content created across your website and other relevant domains and websites built on the same CMS.

That's right, with a push of a button you can speak your target audience's various languages and create multilingual content enhanced for search engines in each language!

Casting a wider reach isn't enough if your communication doesn't support your efforts to convert visitors into members and donors.

8. High Conversion Donations Page

Challenge: You need to optimize conversion rates but your CMS doesn't provide the flexibility to create dynamic and rich landing pages easily.

Getting people to support your cause via donations requires a high conversion landing page. But what are the on-page features and UX elements necessary?

They can vary.

But these UX factors must be present on your donations landing page:

  • Credibility - Give potential donors clear information about where their money will be going. Support your credibility with hi-res images, stats, and testimonials from other donors in your NGO's community.
  • Accessibility - Make sure that anyone can clearly understand and access your donations page through a seamless journey regardless of the browser, device, or screen size they access your website from.
  • Security - Do you have SSL certificates? Let them know that their transactions are secure.

Using the Layout Builder module in Varbase - your marketing team can personalize and optimize landing pages on your website in a matter of minutes rather than days. 

Check out those stats about personalization real quick:

  • 80% of website visitors are more likely to convert thanks to personalized user experiences. (Epsilon)
  • Personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50%, lift revenues by 5 to 15%, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 to 30%. (McKinsey)
  • 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization. (Forrester)

Evidently, personalization is key towards retaining and engaging your website visitors. Utilizing powerful UX personalization tools such as Layout Builder; your brand as a nonprofit will sustain a strong relationship with each visitor based on relevant communication, content, and user experience.

Streamline your donations with those pro tips:

A/B Testing: Create a separate donation landing page for each of your traffic sources (email, social media, organic search, etc.) This helps you identify which messaging and sources are converting higher than others.

Track Events: Set up event tracking in Google Analytics to identify which elements on your donations landing page are working and which are negatively impacting conversion.

 

9. Ongoing Support and Maintenance

Challenge: Outdated UX, buggy performance and website suffer frequent downtimes leading visitors to abandon site.

Prior to the pandemic, many enterprises underestimated the importance of ongoing support and maintenance is to their growth, and matter of fact survival as a business.

Not anymore.

As more enterprises are accelerating their digital transformation plans they are realizing how much website maintenance and 24/7 support, monitoring, tracking, and upgrading is to their digital strategy success:

  • Risk assessment, tracking, and aversion
  • Security module updates
  • Continuous delivery of UX feature upgrades
  • Server performance optimization
  • Search engine optimization
  • Uninterrupted website service regardless of traffic load

Drupal 9 and open-source-based CMS are ideal for nonprofits who are constantly growing and evolving, which means that you won’t have to change CMS solutions or purchase upgrades every time you need to add a new page to your site or implement new functionality.

Choose a CMS provided by vendors who have an in-house DevOps department with a proven and strong record of frequently keeping their CMS up-to-date with key upgrades and proactive reporting to guarantee that your websites are always at optimal performance.

Bridge the Gap Between You and Your Clients' Experience

Bridge The Performance Gap

Explore your website's post-launch opportunities to help your NPO realize it's mission.

10. Reliable Hosting

Challenge: Downtime and server performance is poor due to a lack of dedicated IT staff to monitor and manage performance.

Still in support, maintenance, and growth territory here.

Implementing best practices in web design and development is not enough. To sustain uninterrupted availability and performance for your users, you must find a reliable hosting service provider.

An ideal solution for budget-strapped nonprofits is to go on the cloud - as it reduces your IT staff overhead by using cost-effective cloud-based services.

Interested in discussing or auditing the performance of your technical infrastructure?

We'd be happy to help out. Get in touch for a free consultation and audit!
 

Feb 07 2021
Feb 07

Google keeps changing their algorithms and the importance of ranking factors that impact your website’s or webpages score in terms of how they rank on search engine result pages - and now they introduced Core Web Vitals as a key ranking factor.

Ranking higher on search engines is an ongoing effort to ensure that your website has the best possible chance to attract the highest amount of traffic and relevant visitors.

What Are Core Web Vitals and Why Do They Matter?

Google announced that it would prioritize user experience when it comes to assessing the ranking of each webpage in particular and overall ranking score. They refer to the new approach to ranking as Page Experience signals.

Page Experience signals includes 2 subsets of signals: Core Web Vitals and Search Signals.

While Search Signals focus on mobile friendliness, security, safe browsing, and non-intrusive UX components of a website, Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page.

Source: Google Search Central

Page Experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.

The metrics that Core Web Vitals include are:

  1. Large Contentful Paint (LCP) which measure a website's loading performance,
  2. First Input Delay (FID) which measures interactivity, and,
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) which measures the visual stability of the website.

 

How To Rank Higher with Core Web Vitals?

Ranking higher on search engines means you have to optimize your website based on the performance reports of the aforementioned Core Web Vital metrics. Let's break them down one by one:

Large Contentful Paint (LCP)

According to Google's best practices, your website must load the most meaningful piece of content on each webpage for the user within the first 2.5 seconds.

The precursor to LCP as a metric was First Contentful Paint (FCP) which measured how long it took the website to load the first feature on any webpage visible in the user's viewport.

However, after careful analysis of actual user behavior - Google realized that the user doesn't really care about the "First" webpage feature which very likely could be the website logo. Rather, the focus shifted to LCP because Google determined that the most relevant feature to the user would be also the largest on any webpage.

The elements being considered when measuring any webpage's LCP score include:

  • elements
  • elements inside an element
  • elements 
  • An element with a background image loaded via the url() function
  • Block-level elements containing text nodes or other inline-level text elements children.

More webpage elements will be introduced into the mix by Google as they attempt to update and optimize the LCP measurement process.

LCP performance scores for any webpage keep updating based on the scrolling activity of the user. The largest piece of content on any webpage may very well be visible only after scrolling.

How To Improve Your Website LCP Score?

Identify the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) element on your Drupal website by auditing the performance of your webpages with Drupal Audit. Drupal Audit utilizes Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights tailored to Drupal websites and projects.

The most common methods that will help you improve your LCP score are:

  1. Remove any unnecessarily third-party scripts: Studies show that each third-party script slowed a page down by 34 ms.
     

  2. Upgrade your web host: Better hosting = faster load times overall (including LCP).
     

  3. Set up lazy loading:  Lazy loading makes it so images only load when someone scrolls down your page.
     

  4. Remove large page elements: Google PageSpeed Insights will tell you if your page has an element that’s slowing down your page’s LCP.
     

  5. Minify your CSS: Bulky CSS can significantly delay LCP times.

First Input Delay (FID)

Measures the interactivity and responsiveness of your website during load.

FID focuses only on input events from discrete actions like clicks, taps, and key presses. Scrolling and zooming don't count towards measurement of your webpage FID score.

FID only measures the "delay" in event processing.

 

Why "First" Input Delay in Particular?

Because it's the website visitor's first impression of your website and the biggest interactivity issues we see on the web today occur during page load. 

 

When Is First Input Delay (FID) Important?

Blogs and content heavy websites don’t need to worry about FID because interactions are limited.

However, FID is massively important for websites that rely upon conversion (i.e. newsletter sign up, account information form, logging-in, etc.) 

How soon do you think users will begin attempting to fill in the sign-in form in the screenshot below?

Source: Reddit

If for example I attempt to fill-in the username field before the whole page loads, the FID score will be how long it took for the field to respond to my request while the page loads.

According to Google, the ideal delay would be no more than 100ms.

Website visitors aren't typically patient until the whole page loads and will commence clicking on various features on your website before loading is complete.

 

How To Improve Your Website FID Score?

You can gain insight into how your Drupal website performs when it comes to First Input Delay (FID) by using Drupal Audit. The usual suspects impacting FID in any website are:

  1. Minimize (or defer) JavaScript:  It’s almost impossible for users to interact with a page while the browser is loading up JS. So minimizing or deferring JS on your page is key for FID.
     
  2. Remove any non-critical third-party scripts:  Just like with FCP and LCP, third-party scripts (like Google Analytics, heatmaps etc.) can negatively impact FID.
     
  3. Use a browser cache: This helps load content on your page faster. Which helps your user’s browser blast through JS loading tasks even faster.

Important: Testing FID needs to be contextual and requires a real user because results may vary based on each user's behavior.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Is your website layout stable or doesn't keep shifting during webpage loading?

CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.

A layout shift occurs any time a visible element, such as an image or Call-To-Action button, changes its position from one rendered frame to the next.

Why CLS Is Important?

Frequent visitors will be used to a standard and norm when navigating and interacting with your website; if elements on your webpages move around as the page loads - this will cause frustration and possibly unwelcome consequences.

Users shouldn’t have to re-learn where links, images and fields are located when the page is fully loaded. Or click on something by mistake.

Imagine you wanted to click on a link next to the "Checkout" button on an e-commerce website and ended up making a purchase unintentionally because the button suddenly shifted its place.

Based on Google's metrics for CLS scoring, your website overall CLS score should not go above 0.1.

How To Improve Your Website CLS Score?

Conduct an assessment through Drupal Audit for your Drupal website to identify how to improve your CLS score for each webpage.

  1. Use set size attribute dimensions for any media (video, images, GIFs, infographics etc.): That way, the user’s browser knows exactly how much space that element will take up on that page. And won’t change it on the fly as the page fully loads.
     
  2. Make sure ads elements have a reserved space: Otherwise they can suddenly appear on the page, pushing content down, up or to the side.
     
  3. Add new UI elements below the fold: That way, they don’t push content down that the user “expects” to stay where it is.

 

Core Web Vitals and SEO in 2021

Google is prioritizing the end user's needs first when it comes to indexing the best possible search results, so Core Web Vitals and Page Experience are here to stay. This will force website development and design agencies rethink their project delivery and website owners to actually become user-centric.

  • Eliminate Silos: Agencies that design and develop new websites will need to eliminate the siloed mentality and work closer than ever to create the optimal UX (code and design) that delivers the actual experience that the website's end user demands.
     
  • Product Thinking: Websites are dead. Digital Experiences are the future. Much like the human body, a website has vital signs that must be monitored, gauged, and optimized on. Think of your website much like how you develop a product - remaining static is not an option if you are looking to grow.
     
  • Comprehensive QA: Don't just focus on typical bugs and errors. Implement comprehensive and qualitative testing scenarios for your website's UX.

Despite the fact that hundreds of ranking factors are considered when Google determines ranking each website; the above Core Web Vital signals will contribute 45% towards how high your website ranks effective May 2021.

You should begin optimizing your website's Core Web Vitals sooner, rather than later, to avoid being hit with penalties relevant to poor user experience factors.

The main tools to rely upon when assessing your website's Core Web Vitals performance are: Drupal Audit (Tailored to Drupal Websites and Projects),  Chrome User Experience ReportPageSpeed InsightsSearch Console (Core Web Vitals report)web-vitals JavaScript libraryChrome DevToolsLighthouse, and WebPageTest.

Download SEO Guide

On-Site SEO Guide 2020

Identify all the best practices you need to implement in order to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines!

Jan 26 2021
Jan 26

We are pleased to announce that on December 30th 2020, Vardot was awarded ISO 9001:2015 and ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certifications for Quality Management Systems and Information Security Management Systems respectively.

Over the past year, Vardot’s processes and systems were thoroughly assessed and evaluated by LMS Certification Ltd and as such were awarded the aforementioned ISO certifications for the following Vardot key activities:

  • Web Design and Development (Learn more)
  • Web-based Software Professional Services (Learn more)
  • Professional Services for Web, Mobile and Enterprise Software Design and Development (Learn more)
  • Support, Maintenance, Management, and Administration of Online Digital Platforms (Learn more)
  • Delivery of Cloud-based Software Solutions (Learn more)
  • Enterprise Software Design, Development, Integration, and Consultation Services (Learn more)
  • Hosting Management of Digital Platforms, Websites, and Portals (Learn more)

 

What is ISO/IEC 27001?

ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard that outlines the guidelines and requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continuously improving an information security management system (ISMS).

The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is the latest certification for this standard which verifies Vardot’s information security management systems maintain the highest standards with regards to confidentiality, integrity, availability, and traceability of data and information.

On our part, we always acknowledged that information security will always be a priority and foundation for any truly successful digital enterprise, hence our commitment to ensure that our clients always enjoy the best-in-class security services and solutions.

This certification recognizes Vardot as a reliable and strategic partner to enterprises that need hosting, migration, and managed services that support their digital transformation and projects.

Learn more about Vardot’s security measures here.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). 

Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. 

ISO 9001 was first published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an international agency composed of the national standards bodies of more than 160 countries.

The current version of ISO 9001 was released in September 2015.

ISO 9001:2015 specifies requirements for a quality management system when an organization:

  • needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and
  • aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

Tools, systems, resources, and processes that go into each stage of our project development and delivery process were evaluated and assessed to ensure that Vardot utilizes the best-in-class practices across all departments and stages of the project development lifecycle.

Going Forward

The certification is another milestone in our journey, and moving forward, we can clearly outline our priorities towards becoming a more agile value-driven enterprise IT solutions provider.

Vardot’s is committed to the ongoing enhancement of Varbase - the number 1 downloaded Drupal 9 distribution and CMS. Our UI/UX team is working hand-in-hand with our business intelligence and software development departments to create simpler yet dynamic digital experiences.

Our development team in turn is focusing on web and app performance from the earliest stages of project development - ensuring that our clients create the ideal digital experience for their target audience.

Vardot will focus on competencies - not just skills:

  • Adaptability - Demonstrating the required flexibility and agility to respond effectively to changing environments.
  • Business-acumen - Demonstrating awareness of internal and external dynamics with an acute perception of business issues.
  • Digital Dexterity - The ability to leverage information and technology in unique and  innovative ways.
  • Outcome-driven - Focus on delivering performance enhanced digital products and services that our clients will need to achieve their desired results.
  • Collaboration and synergy - Removing silos and blurring the lines between our various departments to create a more cohesive and interconnected ecosystem.

What is ISO?

The ISO accreditation is administered by the International Organization for Standardization, based in Switzerland. The certificates they issue are globally recognized and assert the quality of operations and service an organization provides.
 

Nov 19 2020
Nov 19

On Tuesday the 10th of November, Jordanians flocked to cast their votes for their representatives in the Jordanian Lower House of Parliament for the next 4 years. 

The first vote was cast at 7:00 am with approx. 28,000 votes in the following 30 minutes.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC), which supervises the election to ensure the integrity of the democratic process, had an additional mandate: Safeguarding the voters during an election season hindered by restrictions due to COVID-19.

Drupal was identified by the IEC as the ideal technology that aligned with their needs to ensure that they’re teams are supported in achieving their objectives.

 

Drupal succeeds in delivering key objectives:

1. Accessibility To Information Leading To Orderly Voting

As in previous elections, voters had designated vote casting locations. However, the lack of accessibility to information regarding these locations that caused frustration amongst voters was avoided this time.

The new IEC Drupal 8 website provided voters with access to this information via a mobile-friendly, simple but powerful search engine.

Voters were able to easily identify their designated ballot casting locations by simply entering their national ID numbers. The search engine would provide voters with their designated polling station from a database that featured a total of 1,824 stations.

This feature proved to be critical towards enhancing clarity, transparency, and access to information vital towards the voting experience.

At one point during election day, 10,510 active users were on the site using the national ID search engine tool to identify their polling station.

The design of the IEC website also helped with accessibility. 

The UI/UX design featured intelligent user journey mapping which optimized the user experience for all website visitors based on their behavior, expectations, and needs.

2. Timely Services and Performance

A total of 403,456 users visited the website during election day and the 48 hours that preceded with a total of 581,963 sessions taking place. Sessions on election day alone amounted to 417,708.

Despite the heavy load, a number of requests, and traffic on election day; the website users didn’t experience any frustrating page loading issues as the average page loading time on mobile was almost 4 seconds and the average server response time was approx. 1 second.

Despite a surge in traffic load, the IEC website didn't suffer from the typical performance and page loading issues.

Traffic was expected to be high and intense during election season. More importantly, the requests and concerns of the website visitors (such as submitting complaints, or requesting information critical to their voting) were time-sensitive, and as such the IEC website couldn’t afford to have any downtime or maintenance issues.

Thanks to Drupal 8’s ability to ensure seamless performance regardless of the traffic load on the website in addition to the 24/7 support team behind the scenes, the IEC was able to successfully deliver all their digital services to the general public via the website with no technical issues arising.

Vardot's IEC project support team was also on standby to deal with any unlikely technical issues that may arise throughout the whole election week.

"Despite facing many technical challenges—due to the internal team's difficulty in acquiring materials—the Vardot team over-delivered. They're an extremely dedicated and results-driven team."

Digital Marketing Consultant @ Independent Elections Commission

3. Superior User Experience

The vast majority of the website visitors (>95%) relied upon their mobile devices to browse and navigate the IEC website.

During the peak traffic period, bounce rates were low (approx. 29%) which is a testament to the successful implementation of user journey mapping during the UI/UX design phase of the IEC website. 

The IEC opted to build their new Drupal site using Varbase CMS because they were impressed with the demonstrated success and simplicity of building enterprise-grade multilingual websites optimized for search engine performance across all languages.

This objective was successfully delivered as the main source of traffic proved to be from organic search results - 40% of traffic was through Google Organic Search.

Proving the superiority of Drupal websites when it comes to SEO performance and ranking higher on popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo!

CMS Buyers Guide

Need help choosing the ideal CMS?

Download our free CMS Buyers Guide!

Nov 01 2020
Nov 01

There are many CMS options out there in the market making choosing one over another a difficult and lengthy process. But, building your website using the wrong CMS can prove to be a very expensive mistake.

So, which content management system should you choose for your business? The answer depends entirely on 2 important aspects:

1. The current status of your digital experience maturity and marketing: Do you heavily depend on content marketing? Are you using account-based marketing based on data collection? Do you have persona-defined user journeys mapped out?

and

2. Your plans for the future: Do you have plans to scale and grow your digital experience? Will there be more technologies and tools integrated with your website? If you have a clear idea of where you are going... you will be able to easily identify and align your technical requirements with the objectives of your digital strategy.

CMS Buyers Guide

Need help choosing the ideal CMS?

Download our free CMS Buyers Guide!

Regardless of how complex your CMS should be, we have curated the must-have features that users (internal and customers) expect to see in a digital experience.

Here Are 10 CMS Features That You Will Need:

1. Easier Content Creation

By definition, a content management system is a tool that is supposed to enable you to create, edit, and publish content on your website.

That content can range from a marketing asset such as downloadable resources (i.e. ebook, tools, reports, and etc.), a blog article, or an entirely new landing page.

Whether your content creation team is restricted to one person or comprised of tens of team members, your CMS of choice should have a user-friendly backend and tools to enable your non-technical content creators to publish content easier and faster.

Tip: A CMS with built-in SEO tools and features will enable your content creators to publish search engine optimized content faster.

2. Seamless Content Creation Workflows

Typically, enterprise-level organizations have a large team from across various departments involved in content creation and publishing.

An enterprise-grade CMS like Varbase features a content publishing and management workflow that supports the requirements of enterprise-level content marketing strategies. The CMS will enable your team to track and monitor the content creation process,  from authoring, editing, and approval to publication, promotion, and reporting, in a seamless manner.

Moderating the content creation process will be a critical asset for larger enterprises that rely upon content-heavy marketing communications.

Out of the box, Varbase Workflow offers two workflows for content moderation:

  1. Simple workflow: Draft, Published, and Archived / Unpublished Useful for any website, and offers the ability make a draft of a live version of the content without unpublishing the whole content.

  2. Editorial workflow: Draft, In review, Published, and Archived / Unpublished Useful for website with editorial or moderation staff. You can create as many additional states as you like and define transitions between them to suit your organization's needs.

If you often make urgent updates to your content, look for a CMS with strong organizational functionality, like link management, so that your content is automatically accessible even as it moves around or changes on your site.

3. User Permissions and Role-Based Administration

Having control over who can access content and features will help you prevent mistakes. This is especially helpful if you have multiple teams using the CMS - which is typically the case for large enterprises or websites that rely heavily on content marketing.

If that is your case, you should choose a CMS the provides you with the flexibility to create a smooth process based on customizable user management.

For example, Varbase (Drupal 9 CMS) comes with preconfigured default roles tailored for sites with hierarchical content management permissions.

The default roles that come preinstalled with Varbase are:

  • Editor User: Can edit all content on the website but can't publish any content.
  • Content Admin: Can edit all content and publish it but can't edit anything not related to the content roles.
  • SEO Admin: Can edit items that are related to SEO, Meta tags, and Google Analytics.
  • Site Admin: Can edit, delete, publish all content in the site.
  • Super Admin: Can edit everything in content and configurations for the site.

Designed to support enterprise-level teams and enabling scalability, Varbase CMS allows you to create new users, define their roles, and edit their permissions.

Tip: To learn more about user permissions in Varbase, click here.

4. Superior Security

Cyber attacks and high-profile data breaches are all too common these days and now will continue to being an evolving threat in an increasingly digital world.

Maximizing security will shield your business reputation by helping you to avoid the devastating consequences of any exploitation that your website users may suffer due to a security breach.

If you lack the expertise or resources required to build an enterprise-level digital experience, we strongly recommend choosing a CMS that bundles all the latest and best security modules.

When evaluating your CMS options, here are a few security-related questions that you should ask:

  • Does it come with a content delivery network (CDN) to help prevent DDoS attacks?
  • Is SSL included or do you have to purchase an SSL certificate separately?
  • Does it have a Web Application Firewall to prevent hackers from accessing your site?
  • Does it have a security team? If it does, is this team made up of community members or employees?
  • How often are static code analysis and vulnerability scans run?
  • How difficult is it to update the software when a security patch has been released?

TL;DR - Maximizing the security on your site doesn’t just protect your data – it protects your customers and your brand reputation. Choose a CMS that provides live and ongoing support.

5. Multilingual Capabilities

Staying on the topic of personalization - speak your audience's language.

If you currently serve an international audience or expect to in the near future, make sure you choose a CMS that supports multilingual editing tools and intuitive translation workflows, as your marketing team will be needing to publish content and reach out with marketing messages personalized to each audience segment's language.

Hence, the need to build a multilingual website.

Using the ideal technology to build your digital experiences can enable your marketing team to create multilingual websites from the same Drupal CMS. Each language can be quickly translated and optimized for SEO at the same time.

Note: Laws surrounding digital information and privacy vary from country to country, so you’ll want to look for a CMS with information governance controls that comply with local regulations where your customers live.

Learn Why Varbase CMS Is the Best Multilingual Enterprise-Grade Drupal Website Builder

 

6. Flexible Page Layout Building

Personalizing user experiences based on meaningful user journey mapping is often the key differentiator between a corporate website and an impactful digital experience.

This means that you need a CMS with features that allow for easier and quick creation of personalized landing pages. Drupal 9's Layout Builder is such a feature.

Keep in mind though, enterprises often communicate with their diverse and global audiences in a localized manner; which means that your landing pages must also consider language differences -  Layout Builder in Varbase allows content editors and site builders to easily and quickly create visual layouts to display content in all languages (LTR and RTL).

Users can customize how content is arranged on a single page, or across types of content, or even create custom landing pages with an easy to use drag-and-drop interface.

7. Ongoing Support and Seamless Integrations

The CMS you invest in should provide your team with the flexibility required to integrate with any tool or technology that will be critical to your business and marketing needs.

Make sure your CMS is scalable enough to grow with your business. Some CMSs offer more flexibility than others, supporting an extensible range of APIs and integrations.

This flexibility is a result of constant updates and continuous delivery provided by the support team behind the CMS you choose.

Is the CMS you are considering enjoying constant and uninterrupted support? Does it have a reliable dedicated community of developers and software engineers upgrading it with the best and the latest modules you will need?

If that is not the case, that particular CMS is no longer a viable option because it doesn't align with your business priorities. The last thing you need is to rebuild your entire website or IT infrastructure because a disruptive technology or solution that can impact your business cannot be integrated with your CMS. 

Your CMS is a long-term investment, so don't make the mistake of thinking that the need for ongoing support and maintenance is an optional luxury.

 

8. Built-in SEO Tools

It can be difficult to keep up with Google's constant algorithm changes and updates that can directly impact your ranking on search engine result pages.

That is why we strongly recommend that you choose a CMS with built-in SEO tools that will give your content the best chance possible to rank higher.

Drupal-powered websites have consistently demonstrated superior on-site SEO performance due to the fact that Drupal is a technology that prioritizes user experience first and foremost.

For example, Drupal 9 CMS Varbase features SEO tools such as real-time SEO analysis, content search engine optimization, automatic generation of search engine and user friendly URLs.

Content creators will never forget to add page titles, alt tags, avoid duplicate content, and will have seamless integration with popular SEO related tools such as Bing Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, and Google Analytics.

Download SEO Guide

On-Site SEO Guide 2020

Identify all the best practices you need to implement in order to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines!

 

9. Advanced Analytics

Tracking your website traffic using tools such as Google Analytics has become standard practice for any business with an in-house digital marketing team. However, many businesses still don't act upon insights into their user's behaviors.

The key to successfully engaging your customers and website visitors is your ability to create content that is relevant and meaningful enough to make your brand and website relatable.

Your CMS should offer built-in analytics or integrate with popular analytics tools, such as Google Analytics. You want the ability to track these performance indicators directly from your dashboard.

Tip: Google Analytics dashboards are integrated into Varbase CMS - which means that your site admins and marketing team can access and view your Google Analytics data from within the CMS itself.

Convenient access to such real-time user behavior enables your organization to engage in account-based marketing where your content creators can create messages and campaigns based on the actions and behavior of your website visitors.

10. Multisite Scalability

Major enterprises have numerous domains or microsites dedicated to a particular audience or product.

Drupal allows you to support and manage multiple websites at the most basic form - which is websites that look similar with simple variations in the content - to websites that are so different from each other that you wouldn’t know they are based on and the same CMS, just by looking at them.

With Drupal, you no longer need to spend extra to scale and grow your digital presence as the need arises. All those sites can be an interconnected web with seamless integrations from the same centralized CMS - sharing all best practices, security and UX features.

This is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building an engaging and open digital experience for an enterprise-grade business in today's digital world.

Identify the Right Multisite Solution Architecture for Your Enterprise

 

Oct 08 2020
Oct 08

At the core of any successful digital transformation is finding the ideal CMS that best fits your enterprise short and long-term digital objectives.

However, this decision making process can take a lot of time and effort.

To simply this process, our team developed this guide to help you identify the CMS that best suits your enterprise and your end-users based on the criteria that is relevant to your business requirements.

The CMS Buyers Guide will feature:

  • Vendor and product viability
  • Budget concerns
  • CMS capabilities
  • Best practices and standards
  • ... and much more.

Download the CMS Buyers Guide by filling out the form to the right.

Oct 05 2020
Oct 05

Websites by definition are not meant to be static and they often redefine the meaning of an evolving digital experience for the rest of the internet.

As the size of website traffic and membership grows, the website visitors' needs will evolve and require a more dynamic and engaging experience. Choosing the ideal CMS that provides you with the flexibility to build a website that always enjoys the latest UX features and best practices will be critical to lay the foundation for a truly evolving experience.

In this eBook, we take a look at the success story of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) who heavily relied on content creation and marketing strategy to promote their cause and engage their huge membership.

This eBook highlights the key issues and challenges that the IASLC overcame when they upgraded their CMS to ensure their digital community's growth and scalability.

Aug 23 2020
Aug 23

COVID-19 has forced us to adapt to a new lifestyle - overly reliant on digital technologies, and most businesses have made some degree of transformation in a bid to respond to the shift in their customers’ behaviors.

More and more businesses are accelerating their digital transformation plans in an effort to get ahead of their competitors in the market because they realize that once people find a more convenient way to do business, it becomes the new normal.

Creating relationships with customers based on relevance has become a top priority for marketers. Is your brand relevant? Is your messaging speaking to the personalized needs and expectations of your customers? 

Our team takes a look at how marketing has evolved in a post-COVID world:

 

Online Shopping - Diversity, Personalization, and Quicker to Market.

As a marketer, you were probably used to a younger, more tech-savvy, and digitally literate customer.

Forced to abandon their preferred in-store shopping habits by government regulations and social distancing, a significant portion of the population have made their first-ever e-commerce transaction during the lockdown.

More and more people are forced to adopt digital habits and this is clearly reflected in the increased earnings of Amazon when compared with the same period last year.

As a marketer, the ability to personalize customer journeys and experiences will be of strategic importance to your e-commerce business. Your ability to convert leads to customers will rely on your ability to create even narrower customer segments based on highly specific criteria.

Using the right technology to analyze the behavior of your customers on your website will no longer be a luxury nor an option. For starters, customers with special needs will only be able to do business with an e-commerce platform that is fully compliant with WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards and best practices.

Personalization will no longer be a one-time or periodic practice for digital shopping experiences. Building highly personalized landing pages and UX features quicker than ever will be the norm and you need the right CMS that enables you to fulfill this expectation. 

Going fast to market will be of paramount importance to your business as rapid revenue recovery will undoubtedly be at the top of your priorities after the disruption and losses caused by the pandemic this past year.

For example, Fitness First was able to launch a multilingual, multisite, e-commerce digital experience in 6 weeks only - fully equipped with all the integrations critical to their business.

Fitness First Case Study

Multiple Sites. Seamless Integrations. One Powerful CMS.

Robust and Reliable E-Services

The impact of COVID-19 didn’t just impact our ability to shop online.

Essential services such as online banking, e-bill payment, negotiating insurance policies, remote and distance learning, telemedicine, and obtaining official documents have all witnessed a surge in traffic. 

Telemedicine and healthcare may be the obvious sectors to prioritize digital transformation but governments and local authorities are also enhancing their various digital public services to be able to keep up with the traffic and demand caused by the pandemic.

As more people become resigned to social distancing and remotely working from home; digital technologies that enable robust e-service digital experiences have become a convenient way for people seeking to adapt. Even older generations have prioritized bridging the gap in their digital literacy in a bid to be able to benefit from essential digital experiences that directly impact their daily lives.

Robust is the keyword here for marketers. 

"A marketer's job is not limited to crafting marketing messages - but to also ensure that relevant value is at the core of every service or product being developed for the market"

Marketing is not limited to messaging, email advertising, and analytics. In fact, the most important role of a marketer is to be involved in the development of new or existing products and services - and this includes the essential e-services that people rely on every day.

Is your digital experience delivering on it’s promised value proposition at all times? Is it secure? Does it maintain accessibility and navigation best practices? Does it cater to every user’s needs? Is voice search an option?

And much more.

Your marketing team must gather, monitor, and analyze the feedback of your customers to ensure that the highest quality standards are being sustained. This means that your IT infrastructure must be up to the task and can support the short and long-term goals set in your digital strategy.

Keeping in mind that it is in our nature to hold on to convenient solutions in our lives, we foresee this particular trend to become a permanent change in user behavior. It is essential that your organization ensures that its e-service platform is capable of sustaining high performance 24/7/365.

Unfortunately, not many businesses and organizations realize the strategic importance of reliable support and maintenance to their growth until they suffer the consequences.

Need Reliable Website Support?

Explore Your Opportunities for Growth Post-Launch by Downloading Our Datasheet.

Personalization: Account-based Marketing

80% of people surveyed prefer engaging with businesses that provide them with personalized digital experiences over generic messaging.

With people attempting to sustain a remote work lifestyle from their homes they will be contemplating investing in smart household appliances and spending more time on their smart devices.

Your role as marketers is to capitalize on this shift in behavior as the home becomes where your customers spend most of their time. Take personalization and engagement to the next level by integrating the various touchpoints that your customers may use to interact with your business. 

No real digital experience can exist without key and critical integrations to ensure you track the insightful data that can be gathered from all the touchpoints and channels your customers and potential leads use to engage with your website. With the ideal mix of MarTech; you will be able to craft better marketing campaigns, messaging, and more importantly to identify new opportunities for your business to develop richer experiences and offerings for your customers.

As marketers, you have an opportunity to blend effective personalization with localization with the granular detail that enables you to trigger communication-based on your target audience's behavior, preferences, and geo-location.

With the right technology, you can trigger messages in the form of emails, tweets, SMS, and even push notifications personalized to every single user’s profile - enabling you to create a lasting impression with your audience based on the meaningful and relevant communication.

The pace towards digital transformation and developing engaging digital experiences is accelerating post-COVID, but it should also be coupled with serious intent to make an investment that will define your business and brand going forward.

As marketers, you should be involved throughout the digital transformation planning process to identify the relevant priorities and capabilities of your business.

During the pandemic, we have helped many businesses and international organizations achieve the early stages of effective digital transformation by revamping their digital presence using superior technology in a bid to transform into the complete digital experience.

If you need assistance, we are more than happy to have a chat about the challenges you maybe facing.

Need Support?

Talk to our experts to explore how your website performance is impacting your business and identify solutions.

Jul 16 2020
Jul 16

Enterprise-level businesses have very unique technical requirements that can prove to be complex due to the nature of their digital transformation requirements. For example:

 

Multilingual Digital Experiences

These businesses often need to communicate with a diverse global audience - needing to publish content and reach out with marketing messages personalized to each audience segment's language. Hence, the need to build a multilingual website.

Using the ideal technology to build your digital experiences you can enable your marketing team to create multilingual websites from the same Drupal CMS. Each language can be quickly translated and optimized for SEO at the same time.

Multisite

Major enterprises have numerous domains or microsites dedicated to a particular audience or product. With Drupal you no longer need to spend extra to scale and grow your digital presence as the need arises. All those sites can be an interconnected web with seamless integrations from the same centralized CMS - sharing all best practices, security and UX features.

This is but the tip of iceberg when it come to building an engaging and open digital experience for an enterprise-grade business in today's digital world.

To gain more insight towards what it takes to transform such a project - you can download our ebook by filling out the form.

Jul 12 2020
Jul 12

Unlike the previous years; DrupalCon 2020 will be virtual due to the outbreak of Coronavirus and resulting restrictions on travelers. The annual festival open digital experience conference will be going global thanks to open source solutions developed by the innovative Drupal community.

What is DrupalCon?

DrupalCon is a conference designed to bring people together to share thought leadership around open source and ambitious digital experiences, provide professional development opportunities to enhance your career and your organization, foster a feeling of community, and invigorate Drupal project momentum.  

The event is a mission-centric program of the Drupal Association, the non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the Drupal software project, fostering the community, and supporting its growth. 

  • Where: Everywhere. Online.
  • When: July 14 - 17 2020

Why you should join DrupalCon Global?

DrupalCon is for marketers seeking to create truly immersive digital experiences, for developers who want to build the best of the web, and for business owners who want to get ahead of their competition.

If you’re a developer, project manager, designer, work for a digital agency or consulting firm, or a Drupal end-user you can learn the latest technology and grow your Drupal skills and deliver more value to your organization by attending DrupalCon Global. Build a stronger network in the Drupal Community. Collaborate and share your open source knowledge with others. Find opportunities to contribute to the Drupal project.

DrupalCon is for everyone with a passion to create through technology. Here are a few highlights to look forward to:

Mini Summits are an opportunity to network with and learn from peers in your field who share the same interests, issues, and challenges. 

In lieu of the traditional full-day summits, DrupalCon Global will feature mini summits focused on highlights and innovations and will be integrated into the main conference program. You will have the opportunity as marketers and developers to learn industry-specific insights in the following key sectors that rely on Drupal technology: 

Drupalers focused on higher-ed can also enjoy a dedicated summit for library-related digital projects.

For those interested in building API-driven Drupal backed sites and applications to learn preferred practices, planning, and implementation advice, and see case studies from existing sites, you can benefit from networking with fellow Drupalers in the Decoupled summit.

Boost your support and ongoing maintenance efforts with the latest insights during the Performance and Scaling summit which will enable you to prevent slow page loads and disastrous outages; learn the latest tools and techniques across the full stack to create fast, scalable Drupal applications.

2. Sessions

From enabling marketers to creating inclusive strategies and digital brands to lessons on how to implement Decoupled Drupal in real-life - DrupalCon Global will have access to nearly 100 sessions and experts about how to build the best of the web, relating to the following topics:

  • Being Human, Contributions, & Community
  • Drupal 9 
  • Content & Digital Marketing
  • Development & Coding
  • DevOps & Infrastructure
  • Leadership, Management, & Business
  • Site Building
  • User Experience, Accessibility, & Design
  • What's Next in Drupal and Open Source 

3. Drupal 9

The Drupal community has accomplished amazing things with the release of Drupal 9. It is the easiest major version upgrade in a decade, extending the pattern of continuous innovation from Drupal 8, with dramatically easier tools for end-users.

At DrupalCon Global you'll find all the Drupal 9 content you need:

  • Sessions about getting ready for the upgrade, whether you're on Drupal 7 or Drupal 8
  • Instruction from expert speakers about using Composer to manage your site
  • Programming about next-generation features like the new administrative UI and the upcoming Olivero default theme
  • Tips and best practices for making your custom code Drupal 9 ready

4. Future Road Map

To kickoff proceedings, the Drupal project founder; Dries Buytaert, will give his traditional Driesnote which celebrates recent successes and details the vision for where Drupal is going next to kickoff the proceedings of this year's DrupalCon.

To better accommodate the global community, the event start and end timing of the scheduled programming will be expanded each day and offering specific moments of live networking and togetherness for regional communities throughout the event. Both for the sake of DrupalCon's speakers and staff, this won't be a 24/7 event, but because much of the content will be available to ticket-holders on demand, you'll have the freedom to participate at the time you choose.

Click here to view the full schedule details. 

Don't miss out on the biggest DrupalCon yet - you never know; you just might find exactly what your business or Drupal project is looking for to take things to the next level!

Book your DrupalCon ticket today!

Jul 05 2020
Jul 05

Your comprehensive Drupal website auditing tool is here!

Vardot released the beta-version of DrupalAudit to aid Drupal website owners and developers just before the release of Drupal 9 early June 2020.

Frequent performance audits are essential to guarantee that you benchmark your desired KPIs and website efficiency in alignments of the objectives of your digital strategy.

The tool will assess your Drupal website across the following key areas:

  • Performance
  • SEO
  • Accessibility
  • Best Practices

To use DrupalAudit, follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Enter your Drupal site’s URL and test the performance across all site aspects.
  2. Find out how your Drupal site is performing in the areas you care about.
  3. Automatically generated tips will guide you on what to do next.

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