As a business owner, you probably care about tangible results like increased conversion only and don’t have a clue how your website functions under the hood. Since you’re reading this, however, you tend to favor Drupal over WordPress, Joomla and other popular content management systems – and so do some of the world’s coolest companies including Tesla, Virgin, BBC and The Economist.
At any given moment, there are two versions of Drupal which are supported by the development community; it means that Drupal enthusiasts continuously issue updates for these versions, fix bugs and improve their overall security. Right now it’s Drupal 7 and 8 that dominate the market. Although both versions perfectly fit business needs, Drupal 8 offers a lot more out-of-the-box features and enhancements than its predecessor. It also enables software development services companies to put up production-ready websites a lot faster and will be supported longer.
However, Drupal 8 core does not feature some must-have modules that will help you speed up your website’s performance, improve its ranking and optimize your content marketing efforts. What are they?
Top 10 Drupal 8 Modules for a Business Website
- Google Analytics. Every company wants to know who visits their website and what they do on it – and that’s where Google Analytics comes in handy! The module puts tons of needed data including the number of visits and page views, average session length, bounce rate and top keywords right at your fingertips. With GA, you can easily figure out which types of content perform well and which do not, filter out ineffective marketing channels, improve targeting and detect performance issues early on.
- Panels/Page Manager. Working in sync, the Panels and Page Manager modules allow developers and site admins to create custom layouts for different pages and types of content, as well as craft pages at custom URL paths made up of one or several variants (for example, a front page for ordinary website visitors and authenticated users).
- Metatag. With Metatag, you can control the entire system of tags which are added to web pages to provide more info for search engines. Furthermore, the module helps your customers easily find relevant content on your website.
- ShareThis. The clever module does exactly what it says on the tin – that is, adds social sharing buttons to your website pages.
- Search API. The module presents a flexible framework enabling Drupal website developers to create custom searches for users. It is one of the top Drupal 8 modules for online stores, news portals and social networking websites.
- Pathauto. The useful module automatically creates path aliases for different content types, thus making a website more search engine- and user-friendly.
- Blog. Blogging is an easy way to boost traffic, educate your audience and convert random visitors into buying customers. With the Blog module, you can also set up a community of contributing authors by providing registered users a limited access to the admin dashboard.
- Paragraphs. With 55.79% of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, having a responsive website – the one that changes the size and position of page elements based on a screen’s dimensions – is no longer an option. The Paragraphs module allows developers to create any number of media and text fields on a web page and keep them responsive. Website owners, in their turn, get content that looks great across multiple platforms.
- Webform. With the module, developers and business owners can craft custom contact forms and surveys, collect submissions, upload customer data to spreadsheet apps and send notifications to re-engage website visitors.
- Security Kit. The handy security module protects your website against many types of high-severity and mid-severity cyberattacks including Cross-site Scripting, Cross-site Forgery and Transport Layer Security/Secure Socket Layer. Considering the fact that it’ll take you 196 days to fix a critical vulnerability like Cross-site Scripting if an attack actually takes place, you can’t be too serious about website security, right?
In case you want to put up an e-commerce website, you’ll also need Drupal Commerce or Ubercart to create product pages, manage orders and process payments; the e-commerce extensions can be integrated with a plethora of payment solutions including Alipay, PayPal and Stripe.
Top Drupal 8 modules aside, there’s one more matter we need to address: should you choose Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 for your business website?
As of August, 2018, version 7 powers 78.9% of all websites that use Drupal, although its popularity has been on the decline since 2015. Drupal 7 will no longer get new features, although Drupal community will still roll out security updates and fix bugs until the end of 2019 or 2020. Choosing Version 7 might be a smart move for now, as more developers are acquainted with the CMS and its modules (which are, by the way, more stable and provide multiple options to complete one and the same task). Also, you can always migrate your Version 7 website to Version 8; there’s a smooth plan for that.
Going back to the very first sentence of our article, you probably don’t care which Drupal version and modules your website is going to use – after all, you do not code yourself, and Drupal has a steep learning curve compared to WordPress. Once you address a software vendor, however, you’ll have to negotiate the scope of work and website feature set. As long as you know which Drupal modules you need to deliver the ultimate web experience and facilitate mission-critical business processes, you’ll feel more confident talking to a tech person and will be able to avoid some website development mistakes that might cost you customers in the long run.
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