Considering Open Source Software for Your Website? Part II

May 31, 2013

Last week, we presented five questions to ask yourself when considering Open Source for your website.  This week, we give you five more, and a little bonus . . .

6. Does Drupal conform to industry Best Practices?

eMail marketing practices, SEO protocols and lead generation best practices change constantly.  Can your editorial, marketing and sales teams keep up when these capabilities are not built in?

Through many years of SaaS updates, the ePublishing platform includes modules integrated with essential publishing services:

  • Email Service Providers
  • Advertising Systems
  • Circulation, Fulfillment, CRM Systems

These targeted capabilities simply do not exist in Drupal or other open-source options.  Yes, you’ll still be able to serve ads and send email, but your business depends on the ability to automate processes and target emails and ads.

7. How reliable is Open Source?  Will my sites always be stable and secure?

Best case, you can pay for an experienced development company (one that that regularly contributes to the Drupal Project) to launch your Drupal site, OR try an inexperienced PHP developer.

The question to ask is: are your Drupal developers prepared to guarantee your site’s uptime, responsiveness and reliability?  

No matter who develops your site, YOU assume the business risk if the code provided by your open source developers is insecure or exposes customer data to malicious hackers. Drupal releases security alerts periodically, but third-party code written specifically for your site will not be checked by the developer community.  Many security issues may not be discovered until it's too late.  

Less dramatic, but equally important, your site and systems must be available 24 X 7.  Is your systems staff monitoring site performance and creating backups?

Every line of the ePublishing platform code is inspected for vulnerabilities before it is moved to production.  Centralized development ensures our disciplined process minimizes risk and complies with industry security standards including CISP and PCI.

Security compliance extends beyond development, to hosting and infrastructure.  Are you willing to take the risk to host your site on a couple of servers maintained in-house or at a generic virtual hosting provider?

The ePublishing EPS provides a strategic partner with a dedicated systems staff ensuring your site stays up and running, 24 x 7.

8. What about costs?

When you consider your budget and return on investment, it’s important to look for potential hidden costs associated with your CMS.

With Open Source, you’ll to have to train or hire staff or contractors in these areas:

  • Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Systems
  • SEO
  • Design

Publishers have very specific needs that present challenges to new staff or contractors.   Publishing sites require customizations to make all features work together seamlessly, to handle transactions, capture audience information and create an engaging reader experience. 

Equally important, there is an opportunity deficit if your site is not performing to its potential.  For example, targeted emails will take more editorial time, sales may be lost if products are not presented in the proper context; ads and lead gen tactics are less effective if unrelated to site content.

With ePublishing’s EPS, you get the whole package with no hidden costs:

  • Proactive, industry experienced staff
  • Integrated, proven design and software tailored to your business
  • Ongoing updates and 24 x 7 support

One predictable monthly fee provides staffing, software, updates, secure infrastructure – all to deliver revenue and new business growth, cost effectively.

9. Does Drupal’s Taxonomy Drive Revenue Growth?

Drupal’s taxonomy tool applies keywords to articles to help your content get found.  Drupal does not support a system that integrates community and commerce features to create contextual associations across all content and user-generated content. 

ePublishing’s taxonomy tool creates value in three important areas, while supporting a web-first editorial strategy to create once, deliver via multiple channels:

  • Search: present articles, blogs, products, events, pages, classifieds in results
  • Topic Pages: Aggregate articles and other related content automatically to increase time-on-site and create sponsorship opportunities
  • Article pages: present related events and products automatically

10. How Easy Will It Be to Upgrade Our Site?

Once you have accomplished much of the custom work required to make your Drupal site work the way you want it, you’ll have to live with a version of Drupal no longer supported with no upgrade path in sight.  And, if you measure against your original requirements document or RFP, you’ll find that it has taken months longer and cost much more money to accomplish the same work using a tested, integrated platform.

Drupal’s dependence on community-driven development means it is ever changing, in both positive and negative ways.  When the community replaces and upgrades modules, the older versions are no longer supported and they quickly become outdated.  

With the ePublishing EPS, upgrades are timely and automatic—and executed by the ePublishing team—so that you can worry about what matters most to you: creating quality content and engaging your audience.

Bonus. What About Managing Our Archives?

Managing 10 years of archives with Drupal's basic content editing tools is essentially impossible.   Why?  Drupal requires users to browse through countless articles, files, images and other archived material.

As part of every EPS implementation, ePublishing migrates archived content to your new site, complete with redirects and updated site map to ensure traffic growth for your new site.  What’s more, the ePublishing EPS has built-in archival capabilities that include a robust Search feature --enabling you to find what you need in the minimum amount of time.

Bottom line: ePublishing combines a powerful EPS platform with practical industry experience and our ongoing commitment to your success.  Isn’t it time to give your online business the priority it deserves?