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April 12, 2017

5 Simple Steps to Boost ROI of a Drupal Website

Drupal is an open-source and free content management framework based in PHP and distributed under General Public License. Initially launched in 2001, Drupal is used as a back-end framework for approximately 5.1 percent of all the websites across the world and is the third most used framework after WordPress and Joomla. It is used in various projects, from personal blogs to political, corporate and government sites, to enterprise websites.

Currently, Drupal is a well-supported community that consists of more than 30,000 developers and one million members, who have contributed up to 33,000 add-ons and extensions collectively.  When it comes to CMS, Drupal is among the most customizable and strong frameworks. Drupal is regarded as one of the most cutting-edge frameworks so far and one needs a basic understanding of PHP and HTML to use it. Drupal actually is considered as an enterprise-based framework which provides a classy API for the developers. Since March 2016, Drupal 8 comes with more than 200 improvements and features. It has set a new standard in providing great digital experiences for global enterprises, SMBs and everyone in between.

Drupal has its pros and cons just like any other CMS platforms (Joomla and WordPress for instance). You have to do certain things to optimize and enhance the user experience. Finally, you have to do everything you can to keep Drupal running as smoothly as you can. Below, we have listed the best practices to fine-tune your Drupal to provide optimal performance.

Cache Whenever You Can

Cache is the process for temporary webpage storage to improve performance while cutting bandwidth. When a visitor enters your site, it serves the cache version of your site unless it is changed after the previous cache. Drupal has a lot of caching functions you should use, including Views Caching, Block Caching and Page Caching.

Image Optimization

According to the statistics, customers are likely to skip any website that doesn’t load within three seconds. Images often take most of the byte space to download on a webpage. Hence, any steps to optimize your images will boost the speed and performance of your site. Adopting a correct formatting (GIF, JPEG and PNG) and sizing is one of the important goals of image optimization.

You have to focus on cutting the file size as much as possible without loss of quality. You can use different tools on the Web to help do this. You may also consider combining images into a single file. It is another helpful technique to reduce the HTTP requests that are necessary to download a webpage. You may implement this feature with CSS image sprites.

Content Delivery Network

Using a content delivery network or CDN is a quick recommendation to enhance the performance of your website, whether it is Drupal or any other platform. CDN is actually an interconnected cache system that uses the criteria of geographical proximity to deliver Web content.

In simple words, CDN is actually an option to take static website files — such as images, CSS, JavaScript — and to deliver them using Web servers that are closer to the physical location of the user. Due to shorter distance, it will lead to faster page load time. Some of the common examples of CDNs are Fastly, AWS Cloudfront, and Cloudflare.

Combined Use of JavaScript & CSS Files

Drupal has compress and aggregate CSS files that can take individual CSS files and separate and concatenate the same into a couple of files. It also has a compression function that can easily remove any whitespaces in your files that are of no use. By cutting down the total size and number of CSS files, it can easily improve the overall page load speed of your website.

JavaScript files are also likely to be very large. Drupal comes with a module with which you can easily minimize such files. Doing this can easily reduce latency and time lag, save bandwidth, and improve the overall performance of the site.

Cleaning up Modules that are Unused

The best thing you can do is to check the modules that you actually need and disable the unused modules. The unused modules can add to the total cost of extra PHP codes to be executed on each page load and it needs extra JavaScript and CSS files in each page load, even if the module is not being used for anything.

When it comes to dealing with the modules, it is best to plan in advance and see what happens with a module if it is added to your site. If you have a module that is barely used, it is better to disable them and find another method to get the same outcome.

Summary

These techniques will definitely boost your Drupal website and it might also improve your Google ranking. These techniques will definitely work well with anonymous traffic. Most of them will be used for Drupal 7 and Drupal 6. Google always has the latest updates so there is no reason for site owners to not remain up-to-date with keyword trends to install modules. These techniques will definitely optimize your Drupal website.


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Kerin Miller is an experienced Drupal developer and a part-time blogger at Stellen Infotech, a drupal CMS development company. If you are looking to hire experienced Drupal developers, contact her company through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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