12 Drupal Modules for Small Businesses
We asked our developers to recommend the simplest, most intuitive and most effective modules Drupal has to offer. Check out the 12 modules that they believe will make a small business owner manage a website like a seasoned veteran.
Drupal can be a small business owner’s best friend or most terrifying obstacle, and the early stages of building a Drupal site can quickly become the latter. Thousands of developers continually contributing modules and themes makes for an intimidating number of combinations for a site build. Don’t write it off just yet, because there are modules (tools that aid in site development) that aim specifically to assist novice developers in the site development process.
Note: it is still recommended to consult a web developer before taking on any project alone.
This module automatically generates URLs and path aliases for you and makes them easy to read. There is no need to input aliases manually, and a pattern system uses tokens that can be edited by an administrator. PathAuto requires the Token module to run, which creates placeholders for small bits of text within a larger text group. PathAuto takes your URLs from:
It operates according to sitemap.org’s specifications and helps search engines crawl your site easily. XML Sitemap can submit a sitemap directly to Google, Bing, Ask or Yahoo! to let the search engines know what pages are available to crawl, which pages are up-to-date and more. The better a search engine can crawl a website, the more easily the site can be found.
One of Drupal’s most popular modules, Views makes it easy to create custom lists and tables on a website. Site content can easily be organized and sorted to display any information you’d like to show. For example, administrators can create a drop-down menu to list any information posted in the month of February, by a certain author or of a certain category.
Quickly and easily create surveys for your Drupal site that can be exported into your spreadsheet preference (Excel, Google, etc.). The module also generates a digital receipt emailed to the user and notifies administrators of survey submissions. User interaction, personalized contact forms and petitions are within grasp and do not require an in-depth knowledge of web development to use.
The Chaos Tool Suite (Ctools) is one of the basic building blocks of Drupal modules. Application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools like plugins, CSS tools and exportables aim to make life easier on the developer. At the base level, Ctools is a compilation of tools that allow other Drupal modules to function well. Views and Panels require Ctools to run, for example.
This module allows for simple importing and exporting of any node type, field collection or any other information worth transferring elsewhere. Any bundle on Drupal can be transferred by copying and pasting the information into the desired program or location. Multiple users are available for this module with special permission from the original administrator.
Customize the “back-end” of a website so you don’t have to conform to a preconfigured administration menu. It’s especially helpful for those switching to a new content management system (CMS) and saves time when uploaded content to the website.
Running a website without using Google Analytics is like driving a car with no speedometer. It can be done, but it’s best not to. As a Drupal module, the service is built directly into your website, placing measurements right at your fingertips. Track more than one domain, see what types of files site visitors download and see what kind of ads are running on your site.
Specifically designed to correct broken links, Pathologic is one of the best modules for a site in the transition stage. If content moves to a different server or if the site URL changes completely, Pathologic will make sure links change automatically. Its designers describe it as a “set-it-and-forget-it utility” because its only job is to correct broken links and ensure that pathways are properly adjusted. No additional work is necessary once the module has been activated.
Imagine having someone who examines absolutely everything directed at your website for potential spam – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mollom is designed to have that effect. It will block content from known spammers and determine whether content (from anyone commenting or otherwise posting) fits a spam pattern. If Mollom can’t classify something specifically, it may require a CAPTCHA before posting. It takes into account site reputation and other content posted therein to help determine what constitutes spam. Mollom acts as a bouncer for your website so no troublemakers mess it up.
Administrators can create flags for any type of content that might require notification. Bookmarking, “friending,” or flagging offensive content is customizable and available for anything on a Drupal site. Create custom lists of most popular content on the individual level or the entire site. Flag creations are unlimited and compatible with Views, which provides a basic view of bookmark lists.
View your website through the eyes of a specific user. This module is ideal for Try/Catch periods of the site building process because administrators can change a variable on the back-end to see what happens on the front-end. Devel also allows for streamlined module reinstallation and menu rebuilds. If something goes wrong or needs to be tested, Devel is the module to make that happen.
Use any or all of these 12 Drupal modules and get a leg up on website management.