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When is Drupal the best choice for you?

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Celebrating its 20th birthday this January, Drupal has been a CMS powerhouse for nearly two decades now. But due to the significant overhaul between versions 7 and 8, together with the proliferation of new web frameworks, it seems to have fallen somewhat out of favor.

As of October 2021, WordPress holds over 65% of the CMS market share, with Drupal falling even further behind, to just 2.1%, and being overtaken by Shopify and the popular no-code website building tools Wix and Squarespace.

But there are numerous limitations to what you can build with Squarespace or Wix, and the rise in Spotify’s market share can be attributed to the overall growth in e-commerce during Covid. While WordPress has grown in enterprise capabilities, there are still many cases when Drupal shines as the obvious top choice.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into 6 common cases where Drupal is an unmistakable fit. The first three will focus more on the technology needs, while the other three will be dedicated to the most common industries and/or types of websites using Drupal.

So, when is Drupal the right choice for your business/organization?

  • If you need top-notch multilingual capabilities

One of the biggest improvements that Drupal 8 brought to the table were the advancements in multilingual capabilities in the framework’s core. Not only does it enable highly efficient content translation workflows, it also allows administrators and content managers to select their own preferred interface language among 94 different default options.

But Drupal’s multilingual capabilities don’t stop at content translation. The different versions can feature content localization and even custom page layouts which better reflect the culture of the different community. This can also be combined with Drupal’s multisite features, enabling experiences that are closely tailored to the specific needs and habits of the different target audiences.

  • If you have complex publishing workflows

A significant strength of Drupal is the way in which it’s able to facilitate even the most complex of content workflows, which makes it an ideal choice for large media & publishing companies, especially now with a much higher demand for great digital content than pre-2020.

Elaborate management of roles and permissions enables site owners to specify publishing workflows customized to the needs of their company. This includes versioning and helps maintain the security and quality of all the content published.

​​What’s more, due to Drupal’s more recent adoption of an API-first approach through JSON:API, these features are not just a great fit for monolithic architectures, but also for decoupled settings, where content is distributed through various channels (COPA - “create once, publish anywhere”).

  • If you need an accessibility-focused CMS

When it comes to accessibility, Drupal is a CMS that really shines through, especially if you need an open-source solution. Not only is the project itself heavily committed to inclusivity, the latest versions of the platform have even improved upon its accessibility capabilities through the optimized editorial features, i.e. the inclusion of the new Layout Builder editor in core and the new Claro admin theme.

In addition to these, there are a number of modules to make Drupal websites even more accessible, and on-going initiatives are working on further optimizing both the default front-end and back-end experience. Learn more about Drupal’s accessibility features here.

  • If you run a government website

Drupal is a top choice for government websites (and other digital experiences) due to its multisite capabilities and in particular its advanced security as compared to similar CMSs such as WordPress. Another important factor is Drupal’s open-source nature, since publicly accessible services and information shouldn’t rely on proprietary resources.

Many notable US government institutions use Drupal, e.g. the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Georgia’s Ask GeorgiaGov, an Alexa skill integrated with Drupal. Even the website of the White House was powered by Drupal during the Obama administration.

There are even specialized Drupal distributions intended for government websites. The best known one is probably GovCMS, developed by and for the Australian government who were one of the earliest Drupal adopters of this scale.

  • If you run a website for a non-profit organization

Similar to government websites, Drupal is also a popular choice for a number of nonprofits and other NGOs. Again, the main reasons are the framework’s open-source nature and its multisite features. On top of that, it’s also robust and scalable, allowing organizations to grow their digital presence as their mission develops.

Organizations such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace use Drupal for their websites, as does UNESCO, with whom we at Agiledrop have also frequently collaborated. In addition to these, there are a number of lesser known, local nonprofits who are using Drupal in some way, e.g. through the Open Social distribution.

  • If you run a website for a HigherEd institution

Education is one of the most important elements of life, and higher education institutions often represent the bridge between childhood and maturity. As such, selecting the one to attend is often a rigorous process and these institutions need to cater to their prospective students’ needs by accurately depicting the expected experience, while doing so in a user-friendly manner.

Since Drupal is highly committed to inclusivity and accessibility, as we’ve discussed previously, websites built on Drupal will be accessible to any type of student, which has become even more important during the Covid era due to increased digital usage.

The new developments in the front-end and decoupled capabilities of the framework also make it a better fit for multichannel experiences and facilitate front-end customization.

A number of acclaimed universities and other higher education institutions use Drupal for their digital presence. This includes a majority of the top US universities (Oxford, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc.) and even the local university here in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Reach out if you need Drupal development help

If you’re currently in the process of selecting the right CMS for your business/organization, and any of the cases discussed in this article reflects your situation, then Drupal may just be the best fit for you. Its recent developments have made it the number one open-source CMS for enterprise uses, capable of delivering top-notch digital experiences.

In case you need some extra Drupal development capacity, get in touch with us or learn more about how we can help power your Drupal development team. Our proficient Drupal developers have proved themselves on a number of projects involving cases described above and will be happy to help take your company’s digital presence to the next level as well.

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