Building a web presence for an educational institute was never an easy task; complications constantly arise such as the size and complexity of the project, the large number of different types of content, and the process of building an experience for users who fall within a spectrum of 16-year-old students to 60-year-old university professors and everyone in between.
Whether you’re building a fairly straightforward medium-sized school or college site, or an enormous portal for universities' students and faculty, the first and most important questions you should look into, is the technology you’d be using.
While solutions are many, we’ve found that our criteria for such projects are best met with Drupal, an open source content management system with 500,000 contributors who are constantly working to make it better. And it seems that we’re not the only ones to think so, some of the universities using Drupal today include Oxford, Harvard, MIT, and Georgetown, in fact, it is estimated that 26.8% of all .Edu domains are powered by Drupal, as well as 71% of the top 100 universities. [Tweet This!]
Scalability is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Drupal, it helps you grow freely without worrying if your website will keep up, the sky’s truly the limit here. Unlike some of the alternatives, you wouldn’t need to rebuild and redesign a new site when the amount of content or traffic gets out of hand, Drupal is more than capable of handling the largest sites out there without compromising on speed or performance, after all, it is the one powering high-traffic sites like Twitter.
What good is a site, if it’ll actually deter users away? If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you’re losing 40% of those visitors already. Not to mention the negative experiences users will start having on your site. This is challenging for all sites, but an even bigger challenge for larger sites, and this is just another aspect at which Drupal shines. The combination of Drupal, web optimizations and caching modules would make your site one of the snappiest on the web.
What do you do when you have millions of users with different permission levels to different parts of the website posting different types of content that go through different moderation processes? Not a problem! This is the level of flexibility that makes Drupal perfect for everything from social networking sites to eCommerce stores and of course, higher education platforms like university websites.
In a landscape that is constantly changing and web standards that are rapidly evolving, Drupal keeps up. Drupal was the first to focus on Mobile when smartphones came into play and is constantly reinventing and pushing the technology forward; hence, you won’t have to worry about your site becoming out of date in a year’s time after development.
It’s true, Drupal is not the only secure CMS out there; however, it is certainly the only one with an active and dedicated security team working all year long to keep Drupal sites safe. They monitor all submitted modules for security threats, constantly and promptly scanning for bugs that might lead to security breaches all while collaborating regularly with hosting and development companies for the good of the community.
Six, this is a bonus point! I'm talking about the open source nature of the Drupal community. I realize that Drupal isn’t the only open source CMS out there, but what makes Drupal better is the focus of the Drupal community, so while other developers spend their time competing for downloads and money, Drupal developers are collaborating on the same modules to provide you with faster, better, and more stable code. At Vardot, so far we have built 32 modules that are being used by 21,000 websites and thousands of users! We're very excited here to push the boundaries of Drupal for our clients. If you’d like to help or want to ask for help, or just want to talk feel free to drop us an email.