Feeds

Author

Upgrade Your Drupal Skills

We trained 1,000+ Drupal Developers over the last decade.

See Advanced Courses NAH, I know Enough
Jan 26 2021
Jan 26

What’s common between Universities and Drupal? Both are powered by communities and both fuel community-based initiatives. In this article, we will look at some amazing educational websites built on Drupal and why they choose Drupal as their CMS.

Did you know every Ivy league school website is built on Drupal while 71% of the top 100 Universities around the world use Drupal? Numbers speak volumes about a good CMS, but we have many more reasons to prove that Drupal is the best CMS for educational websites. Read on to find out.

This list has been curated with information obtained from https://www.drupal.org/case-studies

Top 7 Remarkable Education Websites Built on Drupal

Why do top universities rely on Drupal

Top universities like Stanford, MIT, Oxford, and others alike, choose Drupal as their Content Management System. Universities are built on large communities – there’s the student community, the teaching staff community, the community of departments, the management, and other working staff. Being a community-driven CMS, Drupal helps knitting all these communities together. Drupal addresses issues in a way that streamlines information between each of its communities. 

  • Drupal allows for scalability to accommodate the ever-growing communities and varied web projects associated with them. The CMS is also well-known for dealing with a large user-base and high-traffic websites which is great for universities with a growing student base.
  • Drupal empowers educational institutes to build varied flexible solutions – from intranets to complex web applications to simple static web portals.
  • Drupal’s multi-site approach lets universities easily manage and create independent websites from a single codebase.
  • Features like multilingual, mobile-responsiveness, effective workflow management, access control, and others are now out-of-the-box with Drupal 8, thus making it an ideal choice for educational institutions.

Some Remarkable Education Institute Websites built on Drupal

1. George Washington University

Known best for producing some great leaders in every domain, George Washington University (GWU) relies on Drupal to create an engaging web presence for them. 

Why Drupal was chosen:

  • Drupal’s multisite feature now allows them to spin up new sites faster than ever before. 
  • Accessibility – GWU is committed to web accessibility and so is Drupal.
  • Responsive Web Design – The GWU website is completely responsive on all devices.
  • Ability to build scalable features and functionalities with customizable layouts.
  • GWU expected a reliable digital experience platform. And Drupal delivered.
George Washington University

 

2. University of Oxford

The prestigious University of Oxford has been at the top of the world university rankings for five years in a row. They offer over 250 different programs with a student population of over 24,000.

Why Drupal was chosen:

  • The open-source nature of Drupal worked out well for them financially and also meant that they will not have to depend on one company for all their development needs.
  • A global community of driven developers working towards making Drupal better every day.
  • To collaborate and work better with other units of the university who were already using Drupal.
  • Drupal’s list of quality case studies, including the White House, turned out impressive enough to make the final call.
University of Oxford

 

3. Rutgers University

Rutgers is New Jersey’s state university and is one of the highest-ranked public universities in America with over 71,000 undergrad and grad students. They moved their website to Drupal more than 10 years ago.

Why Drupal was chosen:

  • They wanted a design that looked great on all devices.
  • To deliver a consistent user experience among their various school locations.
  • Distinguish between their different schools yet provide a unified experience.
  • Allowed for fast and easy admission application at different university locations.
Rutgers University

 

4. Bookshare

Although not a university, we had to mention the Bookshare website because it does a fantastic job at imparting knowledge to the visually challenged and people with learning difficulties. There are different formats of accessing the books – audio, large-sized printed, or braille.

Why Drupal was chosen:

  • Web accessibility – They needed to have the highest level of compliance (AAA) to ensure accessibility by the visually impaired.
  • Multilingual capabilities – Bookshare is made available to people across the world and is currently available in 7 different languages (and counting), thanks to Drupal’s multilingual feature and translation modules.
  • To support deep integration with their existing APIs.
Bookshare Website

 

5. Georgia Tech Professional Education

Georgia Tech Professional Education is one of the many academic units of Georgia Tech, serving more than 36,000 learners globally. Georgia Tech is one of the top 10 universities in the US.

Why Drupal was chosen:

  • Its ability to integrate with various third-party marketing and communication tools.
  • Data security to protect student information.
  • Improved performance with smart caching.
  • To provide a user-friendly, easy to navigate and access website.
Georgia Tech Professional Education

 

6. UChicago News

The University of Chicago News office focuses on publishing new content ranging from student academic information to current affairs. They publish over 1000 stories every year that are later picked up and published by other media and publishing firms.

Why Drupal was chosen:

  • To improve website performance and speed during peak traffic events.
  • Powerful and smooth migration of their heavy websites with over 20,000 content nodes and over 10,000 taxonomy terms.
  • To be able to accommodate their growing number of pages, content types, and access control levels.
  • Easy creation and management of content with an effective workflow system in place.
University of Chicago News

 

7. University of Minnesota

Founded in 1851, this top university has more than 50,000 students enrolled in its programs. University of Minnesota is one of the very few universities that can boast about having a medical school, an engineering school, a law school, an agricultural school, and a veterinary school – all in one campus! They had 600 sites that needed to be migrated to Drupal, each of them heavy in terms of storage size with millions of monthly visitors.

Why Drupal was chosen:

  • They needed a flexible CMS that could handle their humungous number of visitors and content with ease.
  • To be able to quickly create new sites from standard design and features – using Drupal install profiles.
  • To build a centrally maintained, yet independently distributed platform that can be used across departments, satellite campuses, organizations, staff, etc.
  • To offer a secure platform with an extremely low tolerance for failure.
University of Minnesota
Dec 29 2020
Dec 29

As I sit down to write this piece, I can only think of Coco Chanel’s quote, which will give you a gist of this article. “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive”. In this article, we are going to compare Drupal - the powerful free and open-source content management framework, with other proprietary CMSs like AEM, Oracle WebCenter, and SiteCore.

The choice between a proprietary CMS and an open-source CMS usually depends on the organization's requirements for features, budget for technology spend, traffic, and support expectations. While there are tons of advantages and disadvantages of each of these CMSs, take a look at the below table for a few of their features.

  Proprietary CMS

  Open-source CMS

Built and maintained by a single company Developed and maintained by a community Source code is private Publicly available source code Acquired by paying a license fee. Pay per
customization and additional users Zero license fee. Pay per resource/agency for customizations. Slower support and new updates  Fast and easy support and frequently updated releases because of the large community. Closed development and lack of clarity on the code Transparency in terms of code quality and bug fixes


If you have been assigned the arduous task of choosing a good CMS that can meet all your business needs, it might be hard to convince into a free, open-source CMS like Drupal. Mid to enterprise-level organizations normally believe that quality comes with a huge price tag. But that is not always true and absolutely invalid with a CMS like Drupal. 

Drupal and other CMS comparison

Ease of use and customization

Choosing a CMS just because it is popular isn’t a great idea. You will need to find a CMS platform that is able to conform to your business model and grow with it. It should be tailored to support the business needs of your organization and also easy to use. One of the most important reasons for going with a CMS is to ensure easy updating of content.

AEM – Is a Web Content Management System that lets you build and manage multiple websites with ease. For content authors and web administrators, it is very helpful as the interface is similar to MS Word. It has some cool drag-and-drop features that make it easy to use even for a non-technical person. The authoring experience is very intuitive and slick. Installation and setup tend to get a bit tedious and finding a developer to help you out with it is comparatively difficult and expensive. AEM is based on Java and hence any customizations will need highly experienced developers.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – Lets you easily create and manage targeted and interactive online experiences while optimizing customer engagement. Content editors have the capabilities of previewing the content without leaving the platform. With very limited drag-and-drop capabilities, the admin user interface does not provide many options for configurations and seems very outdated. Customization possibilities are immense if you have skilled engineers with substantial experience in application server, ADF, and of course Java and the web. Managing the code in the JSP files can seem to get a bit difficult as the tags and scriptlets are blended together.

SiteCore – Is a .NET based Web Content Management System with which you can store, manage, analyze, and update your website content in a single platform. Comes loaded with tons of features for organizations looking for personalization, analytics, A/B testing, marketing webforms and more. It allows multiple content authors to edit and authorize content at the same time. The user interface for content authors and admins is very user-friendly and lets you drag and drop various reusable elements onto a page including JS widgets, images, text, and videos. It is very customizable too which is great for businesses with unique requirements. However, finding a certified Sitecore developer is not an easy task and also very expensive.

Drupal – Drupal is an open-source content management framework that lets you create and manage powerful websites. It has great features to use out-of-the-box itself or can be easily customized with thousands of freely available modules to suit every business requirement. There's tons of room for scaling and customizing a Drupal website. The learning curve is a bit steep and finding Drupal talent was not very easy. However, this has changed since Drupal 8 and its adoption of continuous innovation and modern frameworks like Symfony and object-oriented programming structure. Drupal 8 also provides a very clean and user-friendly content authoring experience with its WYSIWYG and drag-and-drop interfaces. There are a plethora of free themes to choose from that are easily customizable.

Features and Integrations

Your ideal CMS should provide you with everything your business needs out-of-the-box but that’s wishing for a little too much. Look for a CMS that can provide you with maximum features where you don’t need much third party integrations to do your job. Or a CMS that can easily integrate with external modules and integrations needed for your business.

AEM – AEM has some exciting features like a drag-and-drop UI for content authoring, a well arranged visual site-map, layout manager, calendar views for projects and tasks, re-usable content via Experience fragments, Touch UI, template editor, publication management, activity map integration, side-by-side page preview, assets search functionality, exclusive check-in check-out, user-profile integration, online revision clean-up, Mobile content services, etc. For extensive customizations, AEM allows for easy integrations with Adobe Marketing Cloud’s components like Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target (continuous assessment of content to be more relevant for more conversions), Adobe Scene7 (media management, web publishing, and enhanced web experiences made easy), Adobe Dynamic Tag Management (an intuitive tool for marketers), Adobe Search & Promote (to control and optimize search results) and Adobe Campaign (easily manage email delivery content). In addition to this you can also integrate AEM with third-parties like Amazon web services, Salesforce, Silverpop engage, Youtube, Facebook, ExactTarget, etc. However, AEM is not as tightly integrated with other third-party modules as it is with Adobe products.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – With features like Document management (Document preview, version control, image editing, watermarking, video editing, document collaboration, etc.), records management, file sharing, searching abilities (by metadata and keyword), workflow management, create-customize-extract forms, advanced security features (audit trails, role-based access, 259- bit encryptions, etc.) Oracle WebCenter Sites also allows for integrations with Wordpress, Outlook, Sharepoint, MS Office, CRM, ERP, Social media, Calendar Apps, etc. However, integration with other components is not very simple and needs skilled developers for the same.

SiteCore – Some of SiteCore’s features are made for sales and marketing executives, like Advanced editorial experiences, multilingual websites, personalization, AB testing, highly configurable security features, search engine optimization, analytics, print experience manager, web forms for marketers, marketing automation, social media marketing tools, etc. Sitecore’s Connectors ensure that your website integrates with third-party solutions easily and fast. Like SiteCore commerce connect, SalesForce, MS Dynamics 365, MS Dynamics CRM, Adobe In- Design, Google +, Visual Studio, FaceBook, Twitter, Brightcove and many more. All in all, SiteCore is a great tool when businesses need tons of integrations.

Drupal – A powerful set of out-of-the-box features and access to countless freely available add-on modules, makes Drupal the most preferred CMS. It comes with out of-the-box features like intuitive content authoring, rich text editor, easy approval routing process, storage and management of assets, search functionality, granular security features, thousands of templates to choose from, mobile-first approach, search engine optimization functionality, flexible taxonomies, multilingual, user role management, dashboards & reports, API integrations and much more. Some add-on modules that are almost absolutely necessary for most Drupal websites are CTools (set of APIs that assist other modules), Views (organizes Drupal content), Token (creates re-usable patters across your website), PathAuto (helps generate SEO keyword rich URLs), Webform (used for accepting any kind of forms), CKEditor (provides a WYSIWYG editor), etc.

Drupal also seamlessly integrates with almost any third-party solution available like CivicCRM, Salesforce, Marketo, Sharepoint, Alfresco, Magento, Ubercart, Payment gateways, Disqus, Wepay, HER/EMR systems, Google analytics and apps, LDAP, Opigno, Mailchimp, Wordpress, Joomla, Surveymonkey and the list can just go on. Being an open-source content management framework having over a lakh of active contributors, there really isn’t a feature or integration that Drupal does not already have. For extremely unique and specific business functionalities, of course, you can easily hire a Drupal developer.

Pricing and Support

Robert Genn, a renowned Canadian artist once quoted "A high price may be part of the mystique in selling difficult art". You should be able to get true value for the price you pay for a CMS. Being expensive doesn't make it fit for "enterprises".

AEM – According to Gartner Inc., AEM is one of the more expensive CMSs in the market, almost twice the price of its closest competitor. The total implementation cost comes close to $2m including licensing. There is a lack of experts who can implement and support AEM for your website while the Adobe support team pushes you into buying more service contracts or products to be able to help you further.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – The power and flexibility of Oracle WebCenter Sites does not come cheap. According to Oracle, the licensing costs is currently $100,000 per processor. Additionally, the first year of Oracle support is about $20,000. Having an excellent support with experienced staff and 24/7 support is great but covers only the core product. Any customizations or extensions will not be covered by support and you will need to hire not-so-easily-available developers.

SiteCore – SiteCore’s licensing fees starts at $40,000 with $8000 fee for every additional year. Implementing costs starts at $65,000 while support and other fees cost about $10,000 per year. SiteCore users have had issues with technical support for the CMS lately.

Drupal – The best and the most notable feature of Drupal is that it is Free! There are absolutely no setup costs or licensing fees and is free to download and use. Being an open- source content management system, you have full access to documentation and support forums that is provided by a community of volunteers. Most of the contributed modules are free too! Of course there are development costs if you need customizations for your business requirements and hosting charges. Drupal’s network of dedicated and helpful contributors are continuously working on issues and improvements that can help users immensely. Drupal developers are not difficult to find and hire either if you need customized support capabilities

Popularity with customers

Yes, popularity does not always guarantee quality but it is enough proof that there is a heavy demand for the product and it is selling well. The below figures are based on a latest report by BuiltWith as of December 2020.

AEM – AEM has powered over 106,125 websites.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – About 6,111 websites currently use Oracle WebCenter Sites.

SiteCore – 130,079 websites are powered by SiteCore CMS.

Drupal – Drupal hands down wins in the popularity category by powering 1,542,941 websites till date.

Dec 16 2020
Dec 16

We all know Drupal as this robust, flexible, and dependable CMS platform but not many realize its abilities when it comes to SEO. SEO can be one of the most influential factors for the success of an organization or a business. Did you know that 93% of online experiences start with search engines and 51% of all website traffic is attributed to organic searches (source)?! 

When people from around the globe search for your product or services, you want to appear as high as possible on the search engine ranking. Improving your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking is now more important than any other marketing strategy. Ideally, Drupal SEO is about making your website easy for both your visitors and the search engine crawlers to understand. Thus, your SEO strategy begins long before your Drupal website is built. With an effective long-term perspective, its amazing collection of Drupal SEO modules, its flexibility and customization options and not to forget, the loyal community working towards the betterment of the open-source platform, Drupal tops the CMS chart. Drupal 8 (and 9) offers some exemplary modules that can boost your Drupal 8 SEO and SERP ranking.

With our SEO for Drupal guide, you don’t have to go too far in search of Drupal SEO modules, features, and tips to boost your website ranking. 

Lay your Foundation

With Drupal 8, most of the required SEO best practices are already embedded into the core of the platform and with a little knowledge of SEO and some must-have configurations, anybody can possibly boost their website’s SEO to drive more traffic. But before you jump right into the tools and other configurations on Drupal 8, sit back and think about the basics which you need to get right for your website's success.

Things to remember -

  • With your website goals in sight and your visitors' interests in mind, sit down and form a proper pre-SEO strategy, to begin with. 
  • Know your audience before you begin with your Drupal 8 SEO strategy. Once your audience set is established, shooting targeted content will be easier.
  • Pay attention to every detail that goes into your On-page SEO (content, improve keyword ranking), Off-page SEO (backlinks), and Technical SEO (site architecture, UX, clean code). 
  • Website performance and site speed directly contribute to a website’s SEO ranking factor. This is not just true because of Google’s algorithm update for speed but also because a slow loading website hampers user experience.
  • Yes, come 2019 and Google has changed the way SEO used to work previously. The focus is more now on the value you bring to your users – mainly through content. Hence, getting your Content strategy right is very crucial for a good website ranking.
  • Google favors websites that make it easy for users to navigate and access irrespective of the device. With Drupal 8, you can be assured of a responsive website because of its Mobile-first approach. 
  • Remember that SEO works differently for different businesses. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to crafting an SEO strategy for your Drupal website.

Top 5 Drupal SEO Modules to Optimize your Website

With Drupal 8 and the continuous innovation approach, it has adopted some of the best-in-class technologies thus making it more future-proof. More importantly, it has made content authoring more powerful and easier at the same time. One of the great things about Drupal 8 is that it is "SEO ready" right out of the box. Drupal 8 has hundreds of Drupal modules to choose from to boost the SEO of your website. Let's make your job easier by laying out some top Drupal SEO modules that help enhance your SEO efforts on your Drupal website.

1. Metatag Module

We all know what a significant role does meta data play in improving the overall SEO of a website. It’s the hidden information that is seen and understood by search engine crawlers that gives them an overview of what your page is all about. The Drupal Metatag module (previously Metatags) lets you create and modify different meta data elements of your website. 

Meta-Module

The Metatag module plays an extremely important role in improving your website’s Drupal SEO ranking. Take a look at this article to set up and install the Drupal Metatag module.

2. Pathauto Module

It is proven now that websites with a more organized, user-friendly and keyword rich URL have a better click-through rate (CTR). And a better CTR means a better SERP ranking. The Drupal Pathauto module lets you easily automatically generate URL or path aliases for different kinds of content.

pathauto-module

         Pathauto Module

You can even create bulk URL aliases automatically when you have tons of content that needs to be converted to user-friendly URLs.

3. Simple XML Sitemap

Sitemaps are essential for any website to let the search engine bots know which of its pages needs to be indexed and on what priority. The Simple XML Sitemap Drupal module allows you to automatically generate XML sitemaps for your Drupal website. The sitemaps generated follow the latest Google standards. 

Simple XML Sitemap

The Simple XML sitemap module also supports multilingual content by creating hreflang sitemaps and image sitemaps.

4. Google Analytics Module

In our recent post on the Google Analytics Module, we discussed how you can add the module to your Drupal website and also create custom reports for better performance of your website. Though the Google Analytics Drupal SEO module does not have any direct effect on your SEO for Drupal or does not improve your search engine ranking, it plays a major role in providing the necessary information that can amplify your Drupal 8 website's SEO success. By tracking your visitors, their behavior and interests within your site, you can change or add new strategies to drive more traffic and increase conversions. You can also use the GA Reports module that can provide you with a graphical representation and details reports about your Drupal website.

drupal google
        Google Analytics Module

5. Redirect Module

Google certainly does not like spammy duplicate content on a web page. Such content can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts and as a result, can harm your rankings on the search engine. On Drupal, while you are happy creating clean URLs with the alias system, you should note that there is a small problem arising. With the creation of new URLs, the default URL still exists and the search engines do not see it as a good sign.

global-redirect.

      Redirect module

The Global redirect module helps in rectifying this problem by verifying the existence of an alias for a URL and letting you manually redirect it to the same. The Redirect module also plays a role in checking the URL implementation and permission or the access required to the nodes and URLs. You can also install the Redirect 404 submodule that will log all the 404 errors and lets users create redirects for those often-requested pages. Another submodule that can be used alongside this module is the Redirect Domain that lets you redirect between different domains.

6. Real-time SEO for Drupal

This is an extremely cool module that lets you edit your SEO elements (meta data) like in real-time! No more worrying about how much description and content is too much or too less. Or wondering what it may look like in the search engines. It is like a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editor for SEO. It works in co-ordination with the Metatag module to offer some absolutely stunning features.

real time SEO

7. Drupal SEO Checklist module

If you are a ‘To-do-list’ person who is in love with organizing things, this Drupal SEO module is for you. The Drupal SEO Checklist module is one of most significant Drupal SEO modules and something you absolutely need. This Drupal module does not directly affect your SEO and improve the SERP but will provide critical information on the changes to be made on the site. The Drupal SEO Checklist module checks your entire Drupal website for proper search engine optimization against SEO for Drupal best practices and tells you what to do. It provides a detailed report on what needs to be done to improve the performance of your Drupal website.

seo-checklist
          Drupal SEO Checklist

The SEO checklist module keeps a track of how tasks have been taken care of, what has already been done (with timestamps) and what needs to be attended to. If a task needs you to install a module, it provides with a link to download it as well. This data provides a report that can be used for further monitoring. However, this module is only supported in Drupal 8 (and 7) but not compatible with Drupal 9 yet.


In addition to these Drupal modules, there are many other Drupal SEO modules such as the Page Title module which allows the page title to be set, the Meta tag module which equips you with complete control of meta tags on your Drupal website, and the XML Sitemap module to create a search engine readable, dynamic sitemaps.

Some Additional Tips to Improve your Drupal site's Ranking

Just to let you know, while you were reading this blog:

  • More than a million Google searches were made.
  • Close to 20,000 Facebook posts were posted.
  • More than 1000 blogs were posted on the internet.

The internet is noisier than ever now, and it doesn't seem like it is going to stop anytime soon. SEO at its beginning stages was all about cramming your website with keywords and let the crawlers do their magic. But over time, SEO has blossomed with Google introducing some amazing algorithms and updates to curb the black hat SEO practices.
Right now, for a successful Drupal 8 SEO campaign, you need to study your visitors, their behavior and interests on your website and curate the content accordingly to stay ahead of the curve. You don't want to be in the midst of a content gap which can create problems for your website's conversions. With this study, you have a real opportunity in hand to develop fresh content for your Drupal website and optimize it for the searches on the search engine.
 

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