Website Development with Content Management Systems

What Content Management Systems Do We Use?

At satter9designs we choose to use two open source content management systems, Drupal and Wordpress, when developing websites for our clients. 

Drupal and Wordpress Open Source Content Management Systems

Why Use Open Source?

There are a lot of reasons why development using an open source content management system makes sense:

  • It drastically reduces the time needed to launch a new website, saving clients lots of money
  • Helps us deliver websites using the latest website development standards and trends
  • Allows us to offer functionality that has already been developed for a fraction of the cost
  • Both systems offer great administration features that allow for simple and easy website management
  • The systems have large active online communities that are a great support resource

Drupal vs. Wordpress

Both content management platforms are great to use for most websites but depending on the requirements of the site you can gain advantages by choosing the correct platform. Let look at the pros and cons of both.

When to Use Wordpress

Wordpress is the perfect choice for most business websites. Consider using Wordpress when:

  • You need to launch a website quickly
  • You will be managing the site and need an easy to use content management system
  • There are no custom or crazy functionality requirements aside from web forms
  • SEO or Local SEO is important for your business
  • You want to incorporate a blog into your website

Wordpress sites can be launched quickly because they typically come very complete right "out of the box". However, if your website requires some custom functionality you may want to consider Drupal.

When to use Drupal

While Drupal does not come as polished as Wordpress right "out of the box" it has more scalability and flexibility when it comes to the overall functionality. We will typically choose Drupal when:

  • The website has custom requirements that might require a custom module
  • Very large websites
  • Community or membership based websites
  • There is a longer timeframe for development

While there are other considerations this may help you start to lean towards one of these open source content management systems.

Tapping Into the Communities

One of the best parts of using these open source platforms is the ability to use their world wide communities as a resource. These communities consist of volunteers that work on keeping the systems up to date with security updates and improvements to modules and plug-ins. Both platforms offer the ability to communicate and ask questions with other developers and site builders from around the world.

Development Process

The development process is similar for both of these platforms. Here is an outline that is typical for these projects:

  1. Develop the full requirements of the project
  2. Get a budget approved by the client based off the requirements
  3. Use requirements to decide on a platform such as Drupal, Wordpress, or another platform
  4. Collect design likes / dis-likes from the client
  5. Create design mock-ups
  6. Get design approved by client
  7. Develop site with required functionality
  8. Theme the site based off the approved design
  9. Test the site on the development site
  10. Get approval from client
  11. Launch website

Development Practices for 2018

Responsive Design

First and foremost you have to have a responsive website, in fact we do not develop any websites that are not responsive.  A responsive website means the site will respond to the size of the user's screen without using a separate mobile url. This is important for several reasons:

  • over 50% of your traffic will be from mobile devices
  • it is Google's recommended method for displaying websites on mobile devices
  • Google's mobile first index will be going live soon

Fast Loading Websites

The speed on which your content is delivered also critical. We aim for all of our sites to load in under 2.0 seconds. For this reason it is important to have your site hosted on a reliable server. We host our clients on a cloud server that can be scaled up when needed to make sure your website is always loading fast.

We prefer to use Bootstrap for our front-end theming as it provides a very fast front-end framework. Not only does it speed up our development time but it is a fast and reliable framework for delivering a good experience to the user.

Website Security

The almighty Google has also announced that they are making a big push to make the internet more secure. This means they like websites that use SSL. SSL means installing and securing your site with a trusted security certificate. The benefits for a business website include:

  • more trust from your visitors knowing that information they submit is secure
  • Google has hinted that using SSL is a small ranking factor

Security certificates can cost up to several hundred dollars per year. However, our host allows us install Let's Encrypt SSL on our server which is a FREE SSL certificate.

Engaging Content

Content really is the king on the internet. Good design and delivery of your content whether text, images, or video is extremely important. Presenting your outstanding content in an engaging manner is crucial. For example, placing engaging images or videos below the fold can hurt your conversion rates and bounce rates. Understanding how to present your content to get the most engagement is something that we do in our design phase.

Easy Content Management

Most of our clients are very proficient with basic computer skills so giving them a website that is easy to manage make sense. Using a text editor to add/update content and understanding how to place content into the right section of the website should be easy and straight forward. An easy to manage website will encourage our clients to add content and keep their site fresh, which is great when engaging perspective clients and customers. We primarily use Drupal and Wordpress which, as mentioned earlier, provide a simple, easy, and efficient way to manage the content on your website.

Connecting with Social Media

Any website we develop will have the ability to connect to your social media channels. It is important because a lot of users will primarily engage with content through these channels. Offering users the ability to share and broadcast your content is like free advertising. Giving users the ability to share with the click of a button is important. Third party plugins or scripts such as AddThis or SumoMe have been useful social sharing tools for our clients in the past.

Embedding social media can also be an efficient way to update your site. Rather than posting it twice you can post it once and have it replicated in many places. Therefore a website that can do this for you will save you time.