“Why should we choose Drupal for our website?”
We get this question quite often when discussing website development with universities and research centers.
We could start by saying that Drupal is the website platform hundreds of educational institutes around the world trust the most. At least, 71 out of the top 100 universities use Drupal for their sites, among them Harvard University, Stanford Law School, University of Oxford, Duke University, Yale and many other Ivy League schools.
Even though the numbers ARE impressive, it’s usually NOT the winning argument.
We could go on and explain the “open source” feature, meaning the school, university or research institute has no additional costs or lock-in once it starts using Drupal CMS.
That is because Drupal is a free Content Management System. Still, a CMS that is built to handle a large number of users with different permissions, empower collaboration, and organize large volumes of content with ease.
We could also mention how exceptionally SEO friendly Drupal is, a very important selling point in terms of increasing organic traffic and making the website more user friendly.
However, nothing beats Drupal’s reservoir of highly-refined (and free!) modules with the exact features to satisfy the specific needs of an academic website.
Let's take a look at a sample of popular Drupal modules that can be used to add rich functionality and help explain why Drupal is the best choice to create a website for a university or a research center.
"What You See is What You Get". The name of the module says it all: WYSIWYG is a content editor designed to be as simple and intuitive as possible. All you have to worry about is to come up with original or creative content, such as blog posts, staff bios, course descriptions, news updates, etc.
The WYSIWYG editor is already in Drupal core and the inline editing option is available in Drupal 8, making it even easier to edit content.
Combined with Entity Embed + URL Embed, the WYSIWYG editor becomes a powerful tool for embedding any media asset (images, videos, related content, etc) or remote URLs (tweet or Facebook post) on your website.
With the Bibliography + Citation module (BibCite), you can manage, generate and import scholarly publications on your website, with the added bonus of expanding the BibCite possibilities:
Bibliography & Citation — Altmetric — adds the Altmetric badges to BibCite reference entities. It allows you to display the mentions of your content on various social networks or different sites.
Metatag Google Scholar — provides the number of meta tags to help with indexing of scholarly content/articles in Google Scholar.
The Reserve module was specifically developed to allow and manage booking of rooms, equipment, tutors, etc. You may set it up according to your requirements and put a reservation system together in a short time.
It also provides a booking calendar for each reservable bundle, with many options to customize the booking process, such as:
- default booking calendar for Monday to Sunday
- advance booking limits for standard/admin users
- reservation limit per user
- reservations per day limit
The Entity Registration module allows and tracks user registrations for events (conferences, debates, master classes, etc.) or just about anything you want people to sign up for.
Entity Registration can be integrated with Drupal Commerce to allow fee-based registrations (for example, sell tickets to events), and again, options are available to customize the registration process:
- Limit the amount of registrations per user
- Customize fields and reminder messages
- Set registration open and close dates
This module currently works with Drupal 7 and is in the process of being ported to Drupal 8.
This module provides the possibility to create a custom e-learning platform.
Unlike other e-learning systems, Opigno was developed with a framework mindset, allowing multiple add-on modules, so that you are able to choose the most suitable set.
Constant development, rich features and an innovative mindset are the reasons to choose Drupal for academic websites. If you're interested in getting one created for you, or adding some of these top-notch modules, give us a buzz!