Raluca Olariu

Raluca Olariu

Raluca Olariu

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Drupal Commerce vs. Magento - Who Wins the Battle for eCommerce?
  In 2021, it is expected that about 27.2% of the world population will shop online at least once.  A lot of potential customers out there, right? As eCommerce is becoming the new norm, digital businesses seek out ways to thrive in this competitive landscape and position themselves as leading trend-setters.  To do that, companies need to realize the power of digital transformation and how they can embrace it in order to support the modern demands of speed and accessibility that customers require today.  This starts with leveraging the right tools for building robust digital assets. One of these tools is represented by eCommerce platforms, which are getting increasingly popular for businesses that seek to deploy an eCommerce system.  Drupal Commerce and Magento are two of the leading eCommerce solutions on the market and are often seen as direct competitors in the industry.  This article provides a side-by-side comparison of these two platforms in regards to technical capabilities, development, costs, scalability, security, and mobile responsiveness. Hopefully, this information will help you narrow down your choice in order to ensure that you choose the best fit for your business needs.    Key eCommerce Capabilities Enabled by Drupal and Magento Drupal Commerce was released in 2011 and offers an open-source application framework that supports retailers in building and managing inventory, track orders, or handle payments.  Magento's initial release was in 2008. This PHP-based eCommerce site provides high levels of PayPal protocol integration and supports 12 worldwide payment gateways.  Both platforms offer, through native features or third-party add-ons, the following benefits: Intuitive, easy-to-use user interface and control panels. No technical knowledge is required to customize and edit basic features. Full-featured CMS that supports social sharing. Business-centric structure for online stores. Native integration of inventory-driven advertising material Integration capabilities with third-party analytics, invoicing, or quoting solutions One thing to keep in mind is that neither of these eCommerce platforms is a "plug and play" solution and making the most out of their potential may require further expertise.    Headless eCommerce The headless version of Drupal Commerce has been in the spotlight in the last few years. This new initiative is an eCommerce solution that stores and delivers content without a front-end delivery layer. It's an API-driven implementation that transforms eCommerce functionality, making it available across a wide range of potential host environments.  A headless eCommerce model inclines towards a more SaaS-oriented, platform-agnostic solution that allows for better employee adoption and considerable time savings across IT departments.  When it comes to Magento, the open-source eCommerce platform, headless eCommerce is equally prioritized. Both Drupal Commerce and Magento are supporting headless models as the future of eCommerce.    Pricing Drupal eCommerce's technical cost of entry is free. However, depending on scope and scale, the costs of developing and maintaining performant and secure eCommerce servers might reach tens of thousands of dollars.  Drupal Commerce project costs are directly proportional with a business needs for specific development architecture, module integrations, custom theme styling, or particular feature integrations.  Magento's newer modules are not offered as open-source and upgrading from Magento Open Source to Magento Commerce might be challenging.  From this financial point of view, Drupal Commerce seems to be a clear winner.    Scalability Drupal Commerce has relevant capabilities of staying highly performant at scale. However, this CMS platform does not provide out-of-the-box database sharding and it can only be implemented on a third-party basis.  Drupal Commerce has lower requirements than Magento Commerce when it comes to the web server—the minimum required RAM for PHP is 64 MB and production systems usually require 128 or 256 MB.  Drupal Commerce-based implementation splits the eCommerce experience across three related Drupal domains. As a result, scaling is better, bottlenecks are eliminated, and the content and purchasing experiences are efficiently separated.  On the other hand, Magento's cloud hosting solves a large number of scalability issues, although at a higher price. The minimum RAM requirement of 2 GB will probably not scale well and distributed networks or caching may need to be deployed with greater care to keep up with the heavy load.    Security Drupal is proven to be the most secure CMS and Magento's infection rate is much higher than Drupal's. From the point of view of security, Drupal Commerce is a winner for businesses that want to prioritize secure platforms.  Source: Sucuri.net   Mobile Responsiveness As most websites transition to a mobile-first approach, eCommerce platforms that prioritize mobile responsiveness are a must.  Fortunately, both Magento Commerce and Drupal Commerce provide robust mobile capabilities to satisfy the need for accessibility and performance.  Drupal Commerce's themes allow building a fully responsive design for eCommerce websites and offer screen flexibility for creating versatile experiences. The most popular themes like Corolla or eStore provide: Multi-level responsive header menus Custom layouts and color options Box shadow and background textures Custom field additions Magento Commerce is close to Drupal when it comes to mobile optimization capabilities. Its responsive web design features help users create optimal viewing experiences for multiple devices. Magento Blank or Luma are out-of-the-box themes that deliver a fully responsive design.   Who's the winner for eCommerce? While both Drupal Commerce and Magento Commerce are reliable options for a digital company that wants to thrive in the eCommerce market, every business has its own unique needs and requirements. Choosing the software that best supports these needs is a process that involves a lot of research and planning.  If you want to speed up this process and ensure that you reach the right decision, don't hesitate to contact Optasy for professional advice and support.  Discover which platform is most suited to provide a robust eCommerce experience for you and your customers.  Photo credit: Mark Konig on Unsplash.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 06'2021
Drupal DevOps Best Practices for 2021
  Today, businesses interact with their customers in many forms of digital services on all kinds of devices. As the digital world is more and more present in our lives, delivering streamlined experiences at the tip of your customers' fingers is the key to success.  A vital role in delivering rapid, accessible IT services is played by DevOps, a set of practices that brings software development and IT operations together. And when it comes to Drupal web development, DevOps represents a valuable instrument that can maximize the potential of Drupal-delivered projects.    How does DevOps work and what benefits does a DevOps model deliver? DevOps, the culture that encompasses most digital businesses today, uses automation and advanced tech stacks to add a new layer of velocity to a company's infrastructure. “DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture) and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilize technology — especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective”. - Gartner, Inc. Businesses that incorporate a DevOps model into their workflows see benefits like:   Scalability. Fundamental processes like infrastructure and development are operated at scale, which allows for a more efficient approach to developing, testing, and producing environments in a repeatable and streamlined way. Faster and more reliable delivery. The modern customer's need for speed is real, and DevOps can support organizations in their quest to speeding up feature releases, bug fixes, and other types of upgrades. Continuous integration and delivery are two critical practices that can automate the release process. High velocity. Adopting an efficient DevOps model allows professionals to build digital innovations faster and keep up with the trends imposed by ever-changing markets. Security. When adopting DevOps, you don't have to compromise on safety as DevOps models provide automated compliance policies and configuration management mechanisms.   DevOps best practices To make the most out of DevOps, there are some key practices to follow when implementing your model:   Leverage microservices architecture, which allows breaking down large systems into more specific, independent projects. As a result, developers and architects have more flexibility over managing these projects, and applications are more pliable and allow faster innovation. Install minor updates on a regular basis to solve issues and fix bugs quicker. The DevOps model aids companies in deploying updates more often and constantly optimizing their ongoing processes. Use continuous integration and continuous delivery to overcome operational challenges in complex development workflows.  Don't forget about infrastructure as a code, as automating your infrastructure provides better computing resources and higher responsiveness to possible alterations.    DevOps for Drupal development Implementing a DevOps model into your Drupal development workflow will not only accelerate your development cycle and delivery but will also contribute to better user experiences and business outcomes.  As more companies are adopting DevOps models (according to a recent report, 60% of businesses are using or are considering DevOps for their organization), it is expected that DevOps will gradually become even more essential for any digital business. With this growth will come better opportunities for building future-ready Drupal deployments and web experiences suited for the modern customer’s complex needs.    Wrapping Up DevOps continues to grow in new industries, opening possibilities for enhancing security, product monitoring, development, and cluster computing. As it will become the new norm, DevOps will continue to integrate more departments, improve solutions and designs.  As we've seen, DevOps models can also support a Drupal development team that focuses on improving project timelines and delivery. Optasy is the right partner for fostering digital innovation and can help you create customized Drupal digital experiences.  What do you need support with?  Photo credit: PCB-Tech on Pixabay.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 02'2021
8 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Better UX
  Modern WordPress web development screams: plugins plugins plugins! How do you respond? Which are the best plugins that can provide better user experiences (UX) to support your website's success? How can you choose wisely when there are hundreds of them available on the market? You're in luck! This article highlights seven UX-enriching plugins that must be part of your WordPress arsenal. But first, what are these plugins, and how can they benefit your website? WordPress plugins or extensions are a great way to customize and personalize your website to improve your SEO and UX capabilities. Plugins extend existing website functionality and enhance your site's performance. You can opt-in for minor tweaks, or you can go the extra mile and perform massive changes to your website with the use of various extensions.    8 Top WordPress plugins that deliver streamlined user experiences   1. Backup Buddy Backup is not an option if you're looking to succeed in properly managing your website—it's a necessity. Backup Buddy works as a classic backup, and it allows users to store data from multiple WordPress sites.  This plugin is known for being safe, quick, and reliable, which ensures user satisfaction. BackBuddy comes at affordable rates and can be upgraded according to the needs of each business.     Source    2. KeyCDN Another WordPress extension that works in your visitors’ favor is KeyCDN, a winner when it comes to WordPress plugins that speed up your website's loading time. This plugin helps your site perform better without compromising on ease of use or simplicity.  In the modern era, digital consumers are used to fast, streamlined experiences and don't settle for less than this standard. That's why supercharging your website with a speed-enhancing extension will add value to your brand and meet your users' need for speed.  Source     3. WPForms WPForms is the best WordPress contact form plugin. The features that make this extension a user-friendly and powerful WordPress form builder are:   Pre-built form templates that save time Mobile-friendly and responsive on tablets, desktop Drag & drop form builder without writing code Easily collect payments and online orders Spam protection Easy to embed in other pages like blog posts This plugin lets you build online forms faster, and it is a must for any site that puts the user at the center of the business.   Source   4. Yoast SEO Since 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, you want to take SEO seriously. The most popular WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast SEO. You can use it for on-site optimization and for enhancing your online presence. This extension allows you to change a page's meta description, add additional information on your content, and optimize for high-performing keywords. In this digital marketing era, SEO-friendly websites perform better, attract more visitors, and boost engagement—install your WordPress SEO plugin now and improve your online posture.   Source   5. WPtouch Speaking of trends, mobile usage is gaining traction, and businesses need to adapt to this new reality. More precisely, by 2021, the number of worldwide smartphone users is expected to reach 3.8 billion. In this context, mobile optimization is a requirement for any brand that wants to build long-lasting business relationships. A WordPress plugin that can make your site mobile-friendly is WPtouch. This popular mobile solution provides a simple and elegant way of optimizing WordPress sites for mobile. It enables a mobile-friendly version of your website that passes the Google Mobile test and ensures your SEO rankings do not drop due to not having a mobile-friendly website.    Source   6. MonsterInsights Many consider this to be the most powerful and user-friendly WordPress analytics plugin in the market. It connects with Google Analytics and supports reliable and efficient website traffic monitoring. MosterInsights can tell you where your users come from, how much time they've spent on your site, or which pages are they most interested in. Measuring different user experiences metrics and working on enabling better ways to keep your visitors happy is an essential element that helps you grow your business. Among the top features are: Google Analytics dashboard Real-time stats Universal tracking across devices and campaigns GDPR friendly Improved eCommerce tracking Google Optimize for A/B testing   Source   7. Defender Cybercrime has risen by 600% in the last year due to the worldwide pandemic. If your security efforts were prioritized until now, that's good. However, with cybersecurity now being constantly threatened, your site's protection should be at the top of the list.  A reliable WordPress plugin that supports and improves your security posture. In just a few clicks, you get closer to stopping brute force attacks, cross-site scripting XSS, SQL injections, and other WordPress vulnerabilities and hacks.  Defender protects your website with the following features: Two-factor authentication  Login lockout WordPress security firewall Geolocation IP lockout 404 detection Login masking Source   8. userTrack One of the most efficient ways to understand your users' needs is by analyzing their behavior. The userTrack plugin is the right solution for that.  By installing it, you can view click heatmaps, mouse interactions on your website, or even complete recordings of user activity on your site. userTrack provides a wide range of useful statistics that help you build your user's persona and profile to deliver better experiences for your audience.    Source   You've made it! You now have a better perspective of which plugin might benefit your website the most, and you can start optimizing your content and strategies to match your visitors’ needs.  Remember, in the era of digital businesses, the winning approach is user-centric. That's why working to deliver better website experiences for your users is so important. Fortunately, plugins and extensions can make the job of optimizing and managing websites much more accessible.  The same can be said about Optasy, a reliable partner in building and maintaining a robust online presence. From web development and digital strategies to design and maintenance, Optasy is here to add digital value to your business.    Photo credit: Markus Winkler on Unsplash.          ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 31'2021
6 Ways to Improve Your WordPress SEO
  Let's imagine you own a project management software solutions business. You want to position yourself as a trustful advisor for your audience so you write industry-related content on your WordPress blog. If people search for "Best Project Management Software in 2021", you want your blog post to appear on the first page of the search engine results.  How do you do that? With a little energy and a few resources invested in this area, you can increase the chances that your website appears at the top of a search engine results page (SERP).   What does SEO mean and why is it important?   Search engine optimization (SEO) is the action of boosting your website's organic traffic on search engines like Google. By increasing your ranking and visibility, your content has better chances of appearing on the top of the SERP that you've optimized it for.  “On a broad scale, I see SEO becoming a normalized marketing tactic, the same way TV, radio, and print are traditionally thought of as marketing tactics.” – Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager, Bing Optimizing your WordPress website means that you increase the odds of attracting visitors that are actively searching for products similar to yours. In the long term, this translates to more qualified prospects and improved sales pipelines.  If you want to position your WordPress website as a reliable source of information, creating organic, ranking content is a top priority. Improving your SEO will benefit your traffic, drive more conversions, and help you build long-term business relationships.    6 Ways to Improve Your WordPress SEO   Install an SEO plugin As with any other content management system, WordPress plugins enhance the functionality of a website by providing access to more advanced features and settings. These plugins don't come with the standard version of the software and you can find the best fit for your needs by searching the WordPress plugin library.  There are many SEO plugins recommended by users, such as Yoast SEO, SEOPress, or Slim SEO, but you can always try other options and see which is the one that suits your demands.    Don't forget about categories and tags Tags and categories support your SEO efforts by allowing search engines to understand the structure of your website and the way content is organized throughout your site. Separating your posts and pages and organizing them into specific groups also improves the user experience as it provides your audience with a more accessible way to reach your content.  Categories You can broadly group your content in the form of categories. For instance, if your main product is project management (PM) software, then you may use categories like "software", "project management", or "management software".  Tags  Tags provide more specific information through keywords and are generally more descriptive. Think about your PM software website, what tags could you use to describe what a specific post is about? Keywords like "web-based", "scheduling", or "budgeting" could be used as tags to enhance and support your SEO efforts.    Is your website visible on search engines? Believe it or not, WordPress actually has a feature that allows users to hide their site from search engines. This might sound basic—however, check out this feature and make sure it's not set on hide unless you are building or updating your website and you purposely want to keep it hidden during the process.    Use internal links Internally linking your WordPress site will boost your website's authority and your SEO strategies. The number of internal links that you integrate into your content, pages, and blog is directly proportional to the way many search engines determine your website authority.    Leverage standard security technology Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology controls encrypted links between servers and browsers, ensuring that the data shared between websites and visitors remains secure.  Standard security technology allows customers to complete order forms and provide credit card information in a safe environment, without the interference of hackers.  This will improve your website's ranking as search engine algorithms look for secure and encrypted connections. Fortunately, WordPress.com automatically adds SSL to your website so you don't have to worry about this. However, if you're using Wordpress.org, you are required to manually install SSL plugins to ensure that your website is encrypted.  “Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.” – Phil Frost, Main Street ROI   Modify permalinks  Permalinks are permanent URLs that lead to a specific page or blog post on your website and let visitors know exactly what they are clicking on. Why is this relevant to SEO?  Search engines use permalinks to determine whether your website has suitable answers to specific searches. That's why changing permalinks to include accurate descriptions of your content can improve your SEO rankings and also enhance the user experience.    Improving your WordPress website's SEO is not rocket science. You can use the tips highlighted in this article or leverage other strategies to improve your website's ranking on search engines. By doing this, you'll get more out of your site, increase your traffic and your conversions.  Optasy can fuel your web project with advanced tools that support your business now and in the future. Check out how you can enhance your WordPress website's functionality and capabilities in just a few clicks. Optasy will do the rest for you!   Photo credit: Merakist on Unsplash.       ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 29'2021
Tips and Tricks for Building Drupal Websites
  "A successful website does three things: It attracts the right kind of visitors It guides them to the main services or products you offer It collects contact details for future ongoing relation." - Mohamed Saad   When embarking on the quest to building successful websites, developers and website builders face various challenges such as: Crafting the site without coding Designing a good structure and making it appealing to visitors Adding specific modules and features Fixing bugs and disrupted features Connecting your brand new website to services like Google Analytics   Sailing through the rough waters of web development can be tricky at times. However, you shouldn't be discouraged. There are plenty of tools and techniques that can help you navigate website creation more skillfully, and this article will guide you through leveraging some of them. More specifically, we'll focus on Drupal web development and outline some essential tips for crafting more successful Drupal websites.  What types of websites can you create with Drupal? If your new to using this CMS, then you might be asking what Drupal can do for you. Well, Drupal is an excellent choice for almost any type of project: Personal or business websites E-commerce sites Blogs, portfolio, art, social networking websites Forums and news sites, etc. As you can see, Drupal is a versatile software that can address a wide range of needs and requirements. You only have to know how to use it to your advantage.  Keep reading and get more familiar with the world of Drupal web development.   3 Elements to Consider When You Start   1. Drupal modules. From managing user accounts to organizing basic content, Drupal offers a wide range of functional modules. It's important to remember that Drupal is known for its fantastic customization capabilities. Take advantage of the suitable modules to build personalized sites that match the needs of your visitors.    "Optimizing for impact means creating software that works for everyone. In recent years, our community has prioritized accessibility for users with disabilities, and features like lazy loading of images that help users with slower internet connections. Drupal's priority is to continue to foster diversity and inclusion within our community so all voices are represented in building an Open Web." - Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal.   2. Web hosting allows all your site content to be seen anywhere at any time. There are some key factors to consider when choosing your web hosting service:               - loading speed: consider a host that loads faster than the current average, 850 ms.               - uptime score: look for hosts that provide high uptime scores, preferably above 99.5%.              - customer support: collaborate with a host that provides high-quality, responsive, and reliable support.              - cost: choose a host that you can afford and count on for reliability and professionalism.   3. Environment. Drupal web development is a complex process that requires focusing on functionality, appearance, or code integrity. Many elements contribute to successful side building and the environment that revolves around your Drupal project is one of them. Good environments can foster growth and are usually dependant on the following factors:                - How big the project is. This allows you to plan more efficiently, especially when dealing with multi-project environments.                  - The size of your company. This is related to the growth of your business and is underpinned by elements like discipline, culture, management, knowledge, etc.                - How skillful your team is. Having a highly experienced team that is reliable and efficient is essential when it comes to the environment.    How to maintain your Drupal website   Proper website maintenance can be challenging. Here are some aspects to pay attention to. Status report This is a feature provided by Drupal that monitors your site's health. It checks folder permissions, disruptive modules, or libraries. The Status Report feature also helps with debugging technical support issues, providing excellent support for your maintenance practices.  Cron  This is an automated task that your Drupal website runs on periodically. It performs scheduled duties like cache clearing, sending emails, or reminders, and it doesn't involve any manual intervention. This tool also performs routine maintenance for the System Module and checks for available updates.  Caching In Drupal web development, there are two modules for caching: The Internal Dynamic Page Cache Module that aims to accelerate site speed. The Internal Page Cache Module which caches pages for anonymous users in the database.  Deployment Drupal deployment allows users to move content from one Drupal site to another. More precisely, when editing your Drupal site, it is helpful to use different environments to modify or test your content without harming the live site's performance. The changes are then deployed through an automated process.    When it comes to Drupal website maintenance, it often saves a lot of resources to hire a Drupal agency to do it for you.  Optasy can help you navigate the sea of challenges that come with your Drupal project. Be it your digital strategy, web design project, or maintenance services, count on us and leave your worries behind! Photo credit: Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash.  ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 23'2021
Web Apps vs. Cloud Apps - Benefits and Differences
  The world of app development has gained a lot of traction in recent years. A staggering 91% of enterprises have built and deployed mobile apps, and 82% of the worldwide workload will migrate to the cloud. In this competitive environment, making the right choices when it comes to developing your applications is highly important.  As web and cloud apps are fighting in the race of popularity, we've crafted this article to outline some of the benefits and differences of web and cloud apps so that you can gain a clearer perspective on the matter. And reach the right decision. Key benefits of web apps Web apps, which use web browsers and technology to manage tasks over the internet, have several benefits, such as:   Accessibility. You can reach web-based apps from anywhere, at any time, through any web browser. Flexibility. If your browser is compatible, you can quickly and conveniently access web apps. Little maintenance needed. Compared to cloud apps, web apps require less support from the developer's end, thus reducing maintenance costs.  Lower computer requirements. This is very convenient for end-users as it provides greater usability at a lower expense.  Enhanced security. Since client information is not stored on web apps, the risk of threats is reduced for subscription-based web applications.  Compatibility. Web apps are cross-platform compatible and can function on multiple platforms, operating systems, or devices. Easy update. There's no need to reinstall the software on multiple devices when using web apps. They can be updated and managed without any further process in place.   No storage limitations. As web apps can be used without any download or installation, hard drive space limitations are not an issue.  What are the advantages of cloud-based apps? Today, many businesses are already leveraging the power of cloud apps, which offer them the opportunity to work conveniently through on-demand services. Among the essential advantages provided by cloud apps are:   Broad computing capabilities. Cloud apps offer a wide range of computing services, both offline and online. Minimal management effort. Applications that are based in the cloud require little to no management effort or service provider interaction. High customization features. When using cloud software, users and businesses are able to customize on-demand services for their own needs and demands. Having access to their information from any place and device creates location independence that is much appreciated in today's highly dynamic digital environment. Enhanced performance. Cloud-based apps are known for delivering high-quality services and supporting enterprises in their quest to streamline their work processes.  Scalability. Cloud systems support businesses in scaling rapidly outward when it comes to storage, memory, or processing.  Higher transparency. Users can monitor, report, and control resources much easier and in a more transparent way.    How do web and cloud apps differentiate?   From a structural point of view, web and cloud apps are entirely different. Cloud apps' functionality is not dependable on web browsers, and they can be accessed from anywhere without the need for a web interface.  Unlike cloud apps, web apps are not multi-tenant and don't support the diverse demands of different users. Compared to web apps, cloud apps provide a more comprehensive range of customization features. Cloud apps rely on a complex backend to guarantee uptime, security, and system integration. Cloud-based systems also support multiple access methods and scalability and require data mirroring and data synchronization. Web apps are more limited as they are stored on a remote server and distributed online through a browser interface.  Cloud apps provide higher security levels by providing users security enhancements that can be added to cloud environments. Web apps have a different security approach, deriving and verifying user information from an enterprise's data servers.   The future of app development seems to include a multi-dimensional experience. While web-based apps are still helping businesses improve the user experience and convert prospects into sales, the era of cloud computing is here to stay as well.  Digital users require affordable, responsive, and agile apps that meet their complex needs. This is something essential to keep in mind when choosing the way you want to tackle app development.  If you're still deciding between web and cloud-based apps, Optasy is a reliable advisor that can guide you on your development journey. Contact us and let's start making the right choices.  Photo credit: viarami on Pixabay.  ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 19'2021
Web Design + Digital Marketing = Success
  “Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” - Chris Brogan, Chief Executive Officer of Owner Media Group. And how else can you build brand reputation in the digital era than with a robust online presence? Today, leading companies are leveraging web design to sustain their digital marketing efforts and are seeing remarkable business results. The following article provides a clearer picture of how digital marketing and web design can work together to deliver digital-readiness and build long-term customer relationships. What makes a great web design strategy?   User-friendly web experiences. One of the primary purposes of a website is to build brand awareness, attract, and retain customers. Consequently, when crafting your web design strategy, the user experience should be a top priority. Think big: accessibility, usefulness, credibility, value, desirability, usability, ease-of-use. All of these are core elements of what attracts website visitors to turn back to your site and, ultimately, become your customers. Search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO-centric web design approach will help you build a solid online presence and a long-lasting brand image. When thinking of SEO, you must consider your long-term objectives and adjust your optimization techniques according to these objectives. On-page and off-page optimization methods, meta descriptions, catchy headlines, alt tags in images, etc., are just a few of the elements in the arsenal of a solid SEO strategy.  Content optimization. This is the backbone of your website, and it can work well in tandem with SEO. When done right, your content will be easy to read, accessible, comprehensive, and informative. You don't want to overwhelm website visitors with too much text, so keep it short and concise. And don't forget about engagement. Think from your audience’s perspective—what would you like to learn from the content displayed on your website? Streamlined navigation. It might sound basic, but the truth is many websites could use some serious work when it comes to navigation. A user-friendly website allows visitors to quickly move from one page to another without 'getting lost'. A site map can prove to be really effective for this purpose, offering interactive and functional features for the users to know exactly where they are on the website and how to get to the desired location.  Branding. Your website should reflect your brand's identity, your business’s culture, and the way you relate to your customers. You can create this brand-website link by investing in visually connecting your logo, print material, and brick-and-mortar location. In this way, you'll add an extra layer of credibility and enhance your brand’s overall image.  “Your website is the center of your digital eco-system, like a brick and mortar location, the experience matters once a customer enters, just as much as the perception they have of you before they walk through the door.” - Leland Dieno. What makes a great digital marketing strategy?   Content management and planning. To be successful in digital marketing, you need to set realistic frameworks from the beginning. There are plenty of strategies and tools that can help you with this, such as content mapping, editorial calendars, or timelines. At this point, you want to plan smartly and organize your project with well-defined outcomes in mind. However, nothing is certain in life, especially in business, so leaving room for uncertainty can be a productive mindset. Set your key performance indicators (KPIs) and ensure that they match your overall business goals. Choosing the right KPIs. Speaking of goals and performance metrics, how do you accurately set them? To stay on target, you must understand your digital needs and marketing efforts. There are some key questions to ask here:      How are your KPIs connected to your objectives?      What's the subject of your measurements?      How do these measurements relate to the user experience?      To what extent do you need to monitor these specific metrics?      Answering these questions will not only help you go beyond data and address the human experience but will also support a solid digital and sales marketing strategy. Leveraging effective content strategies by addressing the 3 R's of engaging content: reliable, relatable, and relevant. Getting to your audience and performing effective outreach campaigns relies on wisely chosen content. Provide your customers with fresh, relevant information, and you'll quickly build trust and position yourself as a reliable advisor.   Strategies are important, but so is flexibility. In business, as in life, it is always wise to leave room for uncertainty. That means building a strategy that is flexible and can adapt to new, unexpected scenarios. In other words, leave some unfilled spots in your timeline so that you can, later on, incorporate things like viral competitors' articles, trends, and current events, or unforeseen expenses in new technologies. To build flexibility, ask yourself these questions from time to time:      Where could I improve my strategies?      Which tools should I choose to keep the business in line and better organized?      Where is the business getting the most traffic from?      What KPIs am I interested in at this stage? Measure your content's performance and see where it is heading. In digital marketing, you always want to know where the business is standing. That's why visualizing a clear direction and planning accordingly to reach your goals is essential. That means being aware of each stage of your funnel and adapting your strategies to match your current activity’s needs and demands.  Why web design and digital marketing should work together?   The impact of web design on your digital marketing outcomes is substantial. The way you design your website speaks volumes about your brand, and it plays a vital role in how your overall business is perceived and engaged with. Elements like the website experience, SEO, social media outreach, and branding are essential components of your digital marketing ecosystem. Blending web design and digital marketing is a modern approach that takes digital businesses to the next level.  “Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that.” - Paul Cookson. What are your thoughts on the importance of connecting digital marketing and web design in a holistic business approach? If you want to leverage the full power of the digital, have a look at Optasy's services and see how our experienced team can craft a personalized digital strategy that will suit the needs of your business. Let us build your roadmap to digital success! Photo credit: edhoradic on Unsplash.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 18'2021
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Redesigning Your Drupal Website
  Drupal web development can be challenging sometimes—depending on the knowledge of the one performing it. On one side, this popular content management system provides amazing opportunities for customizing websites to meet the specific needs of brands, boosting web traffic, and business recognition.  On the other hand, Drupal web development requires skilled developers and site builders that master the art of the Drupal project. We, at Optasy, know that Drupal web development can be challenging and keep many developers up at night. That's why we crafted this article to help you on your journey with Drupal. More exactly, this post covers five mistakes to avoid when redesigning your Drupal website. It will help you gain key insights into the technical, creative, operational, financial, and strategic decisions that you have to consider through your Drupal web development journey.  Let's roll up our sleeves and start learning from the mistakes of others. But first, how do you identify when it's time for a website redesign?   Your website is not mobile-responsive. To avoid losing credibility and value, your website has to be optimized for a wide range of devices. Since 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile nowadays, optimizing your Drupal website for mobile is a must.  Navigation on your website is slow. Online visitors are now expecting seamless digital experiences at the tip of their fingers. A poorly functional website will chase them away and affect your brand's credibility.  Your website is more than five years. As the digital landscape is changing at a rapid pace, a complete revamp for your Drupal website is necessary from time to time.   Now that you have a clearer picture of whether you should plan a redesign project for your Drupal website or not, it's essential to understand what you should avoid doing in this process.    #1 Mistake Skipping the analysis of your existing website. To solve an issue, you must be aware of it in the first place, right? The most successful companies are proficient at analyzing and identifying challenges in their workflows and proactively search for ways to overcome them.  To evolve you must focus on your vulnerabilities and clearly define your weak spots. Only then, you can gain a sharper perspective of your destination.  Key questions to ask yourself when analyzing your current Drupal website are: How many visitors is my website attracting? What's the average loading speed of my site? Is the bounce rate too high? Where does my website rank on SERPs?   #2 Mistake Redesigning without a clear purpose. Like all things in life, your redesign strategy should have a well-defined goal (or goals). You can't build a lasting plan without first outlining its primary purposes. With that in mind, here are the main questions that can help you craft precise objectives: Where do you want your Drupal website to be in the next six months? How will the new versions of my pages help me reach my goals? What digital tools do I need in order to accomplish my objectives? When drawing your redesign plan, you need to know why you are doing it and then align your site updates with your marketing goals.   #3 Mistake Not establishing analytics benchmarks. Now that you've gained a clearer perspective of your Drupal redesign plan and goals, it's time to start focusing on setting metrics related to the performance of the old version of your website. Google Analytics is a reliable resource that can help you with this, by providing these types of benchmarks: Visits that actually lead to sales conversions How much time users spend on site, overall visits, and banner click-through rates Lead generation  When it comes to SEO, these are the metrics you should try to benchmark: Website traffic Organic traffic-generating pages Inbound links Conversion rates   #4 Mistake Not investing enough resources in a robust content strategy. Content is still king. Around 70% of companies actively invest in content marketing. Why is content marketing so important? Because it answers your audience's questions. It helps businesses build trust and generate more high-quality leads.  That's why you should redesign your Drupal website with content in mind and consider the pain points of your audience when crafting your content strategy.  What does a content strategy for the website look like? Defined goals and target audience Analytics & SEO review Content inventory & audit Style guidelines and publishing strategy Omnichannel/cross-platform considerations SEO strategy and metadata standards   #5 Mistake Ignoring your competition.  Competitive intelligence refers to the ability to gather, analyze, and leverage insights related to your competitors in order to better understand the market and make stronger strategic decisions.  How to get started with competitive intelligence? Step 1: Know your competitors. Determine which are your top five direct competitors and then your indirect, aspirational, and perceived rivals.  Step 2: Collect your intel. This might be the most time-consuming part of the competitive intelligence process. At this point, you want to take the time to explore your competitors' online presence, products, websites, social media posts, teams, content, etc.  Step 3: Craft your competitive analysis. Once you've gathered your intel, you should focus on breaking down the data and organize the findings such as trends or key insights so that you can easily communicate them throughout your enterprise.  Step 4: Turn competitive intelligence into results. Make your data actionable and leverage it to benefit your overall business tactics.    Wrapping up Having these key insights on board when you start your Drupal redesign project will help you navigate the whole process a lot easier.  Optasy can also support you in getting more out of your Drupal website with top-notch Drupal web development, maintenance, and support offerings—whether you want to build or upgrade your Drupal site. Have a look and contact us if you want to accelerate your digital transformation.   Image credit: mohamed_hassan on Pixabay.    ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 15'2021
The Best Drupal Developers Choose These Modules for Top-Notch Web Experiences
  Choosing Drupal as your content management system (CMS) is a big step in your digital journey, and it will transform the way you deliver web experiences. In order to make the most out of Drupal's unique capabilities and features, you need to install suitable modules for your website.  Don't know where to start? You're in luck. In this article, you'll discover which modules the best Drupal designers pick for user-friendly sites and optimized experiences. It's time to start expanding the functionality of your Drupal website and enjoy its full potential.   Paragraphs This must-have module is an author-friendly extension that empowers content authors and editors to create flexible and structured content effortlessly. The extension pre-defines complex elements and allows content to be added as individual paragraphs such as text blocks, pictures, quotes, popup elements with links, etc. With the paragraphs module, you have complete control over the fields you want to compose and their appearance. The drag and drop functionality allows for greater flexibility and streamlined workflows. The best Drupal developers use this module to improve and facilitate the content-editing process. Advantages Standard fields are more flexible Content-editing is more user-friendly Nesting is infinite The level of customizing multiple fields is more complex Disadvantages The set up of this module must be made by a developer "You want to enable your developers to easily deliver content to different devices, channels, and platforms. This means that the content needs to be available through APIs. This is aligned with Drupal 8's roadmap, where we are focused on web services capabilities." - Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal   Webform  This essential Drupal Module is hard to ignore, given its robust and versatile functionality. Any website needs a contact form, survey, or feedback questionnaire. The Drupal 8 Webform module is the ultimate interface for creating customizable and extendable forms, used by the best Drupal designers to transform the form-building experience.  Advantages Flexible, easy to use interface Builds e-mail handlers, exporting options, and multi-step forms Highly customizable and extendable module Can export data to spreadsheets for further analysis Disadvantages Hard to operate, this module needs complex Drupal knowledge   Drupal GraphQL The best Drupal developers choose this module to generate GraphQL schemas and display Drupal entities with GraphQL client applications. In other words, this technology enables you to quickly obtain content from your Drupal site and send it to front-end applications.  Advantages Transfers the power to the front-end to request data Reduces the time spent on requesting data by grouping queries together Automatic caching system Disadvantages The GraphQL module is still limited in functionality   Display Suite This module is best known for its easy-to-use interface that acts as a handy tool to build page layouts. As a practical display module, it permits users to arrange content with intuitive templates, and the drag and drop fields allow for greater versatility.   Advantages Flexible, resilient layout module Provides custom layouts and easy-to-use templates Helpful template suggestions for website builders Disadvantages The Display Suite module has some minor functionally bugs and user experience flaws   Security Kit  When it comes to security, the best Drupal developers know that it has to be one of the top priorities when developing a Drupal website.  Drupal is said to be the most secure CMS on the market, and the Security Kit module has been developed to support that statement.  By leveraging this module, Drupal users can mitigate the risks of exploitation of various web app vulnerabilities. This all-in-one security module lets users configure, tweak, and create several options that decrease the risk of attacks on your Drupal website.  Advantages Content security policy implementation Prevents multiple kinds of cyber threats, including man-in-the-middle and eavesdropping attacks Provides support for setting up HTTP headers Disadvantages Can be quite complex to operate for beginners The best Drupal developers have this Drupal security module in their toolbox to help them protect their digital assets.  “The reason Drupal has been successful is because we always made big, forward-looking changes. It’s a cliché, but change has always been the only constant in Drupal. The result is that Drupal has stayed relevant, unlike nearly every other Open Source CMS over the years. The biggest risk for our project is that we don't embrace change”. - Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal    Captcha Module Another Drupal module that was built with security in mind is the Captcha module, comprised of a challenge-response test. Its primary purpose is to determine whether or not the user is human, thus hindering form submissions from spambots. By differentiating between real users and automated ones, the Captcha module protects websites from fraud and abuse. Advantages Detects potential hackers and prevents online services abuse Protects registration forms on websites Makes online shopping more secure Disadvantages The module may fail in some browsers It may prove to be challenging for website visitors, especially for people with disabilities Tends to annoy site guests   How to leverage the full potential of your Drupal experience  Drupal's power lies in its unique customization and personalization capabilities. While implementing the above modules might work for the more experienced developers, it can prove to be quite challenging for beginners or non-technical Drupal users.  Here's where an experienced Drupal agency like Optasy can help. Optasy is an in-house team of Drupal experts that supports Drupal web development projects aimed at delivering best-in-class web experiences.  Take a look at our services and discover what the best Drupal developers can do for the success of your digital business.  Image credit: kreatikar on Pixabay.      ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 12'2021