Drupal: Recommended for small companies and nonprofits

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Drupal is the CMS I recommend for small companies and nonprofits.

Why?

Why? Because Drupal is:

  • Cheap to run. Drupal uses PHP and MySQL. They are components of a Web site’s infrastructure. PHP and MySQL are readily available on low-cost hosting plans. These plans cost $10 USD to $20 USD per month.
  • Secure. Drupal has a security team that is constantly looking for flaws. New Drupal code is seen by thousands of developers around the world.
  • Capable and flexible. The core Drupal install has many features. Hundreds of modules (the Drupal word for plug-ins or add-ons) add extra features.
  • Customizable. Drupal has a good theming system to change a site’s look and feel. It also has a good application programming interface (API) that lets programmers add functionality.
  • Scalable. Drupal scales from family sites to large corporate sites. It runs on anything from a shared hosting service to a mainframe. Performance is a priority in Drupal design. For example, Drupal has its own caching system, and also supports specialized caching solutions like Memcached.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine positioning is important for most small company sites. Drupal has good support for SEO. Marketing companies like Volacci choose Drupal for that reason.
  • Analytics. Drupal integrates well with Google Analytics and other services, letting small companies measure the performance of their sites and marketing campaigns.
  • Flexible workflows. You can customize Drupal workflows to match your needs. For example, an online magazine can separate the tasks of writers, reviewers, editors, publishers, or whatever roles make sense. It can set up rules for who has to approve what types of content before it is published on the Web site.
  • Ecommerce. Drupal has strong ecommerce features for online ordering, payment, etc.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM). Drupal has a powerful CRM module.
  • Internationalization. Drupal can deliver multilingual content, even in right-to-left languages like Arabic.
  • Developers available. Drupal programmers are available around the world.
  • Training available. There are at least a dozen books on Drupal, plus videos and (of course) Web sites. Companies like Lullabot and Drupal Easy offer in-person Drupal training.

Here are some indicators of Drupal’s success:

  • Drupal is used by Sony, AT&T, IBM, Sun, Yahoo, Harvard, Stanford, ... .
  • The White House uses Drupal (http://whitehouse.gov). They cited security as one of their reasons for choosing Drupal. Drupalers are also part of the open government initiative. For example, the Federal IT Dashboard is a Drupal site.
  • Gartner, a leading IT consulting firm, rates Drupal as “visionary,” along with Google. It is the only open source CMS so honored.
  • Dries Buytaert, the Drupal founder and project lead, was selected as one of the top five most influential people in the open source community. That’s across all the thousands of open source projects, not just CMS.

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