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A Drupal Website for China: The Right Choice?

Posted in E-commerce on December 24th 2020
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Vice President and Co-founder at IT Consultis

What is Drupal?

Drupal is the ideal tool for developing a website or web-service for your business, especially for China.

Drupal is usually considered as a ​content management system​, or CMS in short.

1. CMS Versus CMF

A CMS is an application that allows multiple users to create, edit, and publish contents on a web page. In this regard, Drupal’s competitors include several traditional CMSs like WordPress, Joomla, as well as certain niche CMSs that have recently gained fame through aggressive marketing such as Wix or Squarespace.

Strictly speaking, however, Drupal is more of a ​content management framework​, or CMF, than a CMS. The difference between the two is nuanced yet impactful for business owners. Simply put, CMSs are easier to use but more limited, while CMFs offer more technical flexibility at the slight expense of added complexity.

2. Suitable for the Chinese market

In the US and European markets, Drupal’s market share is not as great as other services due to its complexity. However, this complexity allows Drupal to be especially suited for the Chinese market. Drupal’s key characteristics – multilingual, highly secure, highly scalable and customizable, among other features. This article will explain these features one by one.

Drupal’s Features

Multilingual

Language is perhaps the most expected problem for international companies expanding into China. Drupal solves this problem with grace. Drupal’s multilingual modules allow users in China to have easy access to your brand and products.

Multiple translation modules are available for users. Drupal also provides guides for developers from different linguistic backgrounds, including developers whose first language is Chinese.

Business Friendliness

Drupal’s tremendous web-hosting prowess is best demonstrated by its diverse and highly esteemed user pool, which ranges from Harvard University, the United States House of Representatives, to Pinterest Business. User account handling, security, and multisite support are essential to all these users. But perhaps the best example demonstrating how Drupal can provide an amazing website for your business is the Jack Daniels website built using Drupal.

One of these business-friendly features is Drupal’s spectacular ​search engine optimization tools and features, or SEO. SEO is the process of increasing your website’s visibility on search engines like Google, Bing, or Baidu.

In short, SEO is what makes sure your website shows up among the first search results. Drupal provides some of the best SEO features to help managing your ranking. Drupal’s SEO features resulted in 48% of the traffic for jackdaniels.com coming from organic results. In November 2020 alone, jackdaniels.com has received more than 741,090 visits. Meanwhile, a rival website jimbeam.com from a rival company Jim Beam, which does not use Drupal, only received approximately 265,550 visits in November, roughly only 35.7% of the visits Jack Daniels received. Drupal help reaching a good SEO, but noy only. Moreover, the Drupal community is full of performant developers who created countless modules for the SEO performance of Drupal. 

Security

Unfortunately, the Chinese internet environment can be more volatile than most business owners would prefer. According to the Chinese National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT), over 62 million malware attacks were recorded in 2019 alone. This is only the recorded number. The truth is, a business running in China must be concerned with security when interacting with users, other web-service providers, or even the authorities. Therefore, Drupal, renowned for being one of the most secure CMSs available, is perfect for your website in China.

Drupal is highly secure because of its status as a community-driven open-source project. Unlike proprietary services like Wix or Squarespace, Drupal is subject to constant scrutiny by the community of Drupal users and developers. As a result, Drupal is incredibly transparent with its weaknesses, and all security risks are updated extremely on time (See https://www.drupal.org/security). Drupal’s security features is the reason why many governments choose to use.

Drupal, including the aforementioned U.S. House of Representatives, but also the White House, NASA or the French Government.

High Reliability

What if your website reaches high traffic peaks? It should not take more than 5 seconds to load the front page, and experience crashes should be avoided. ​Using Drupal, will solve much of the problems. Drupal is highly scalable. While Drupal cannot determine the quality of your server, it can optimize the performance. Drupal's programmers prioritizes high-performance in their code designs, Drupal uses a modular design that also provides a great deal of flexibility. Every module in a Drupal website is independently functional.

This characteristic not only allows for a Drupal website to be tweaked and changed with almost no restrictions, but also increases the reliability of a website as changes made to one module will not interfere with the functions of other modules. If a single module is faulty or unavailable, it will not cause the entire website to crash. In short, any potential problems will be immediately compartmentalized. An added benefit to this modular design is that website maintenance is made easier and cheaper.

More

The features mentioned above are just one of the few features that make Drupal special. Drupal also excels at user management, database integration, and countless other features not yet mentioned in this article. Drupal has as well an active community of contributors.

Installation

Installing Drupal is a either process that is pretty much the same as installing any other software on your computer, with just a few extra steps; or a process that requires several hours of efforts by a seasoned professional.

First, let’s look at the easy route. There are several services online that offer a one-click solution to Drupal installation. These services are usually very intuitive to use. You simply follow the steps and provide the relative information, such as the host address, database information and you will be all set. However, this method of installation will result in your finished website being significantly less configurable than if Drupal was installed manually.

Once you have the web host, installing Drupal is quite straightforward. Simply go to the download section of the official website and hit the big blue button.

The process

Once on your hard drive, unzip the file you just downloaded. Then, connect to your server via FTP and start uploading all those files to the directory that your domain is pointed at. Meanwhile, navigate to your host’s management panel for MySQL databases. Here, be sure to create a dedicated database for your Drupal installation. While the process will be slightly different depending on your provider, you should end up with the following set information: Database name, Database username, user’s password and Database host address.

Keep all this information handy, you will need it soon. Once the files have finished uploading, navigate to your site domain. Doing so will start the Drupal installation process.

Once you actually start the installation process, the first step is to choose the language you want your site to operate in. Take your pick and click Save and continue. After that, you need to determine your so-called installation profile. This determines whether some of your site features will be pre-configured or not. The choices here might differ depending on the distribution of Drupal you are using. Again, make your choice and move on.

In the next step, the Drupal installation checks whether your environment is sufficient to run the software. Any problems will show up as warnings so you can address them. Continue when you are satisfied. Now it’s time to put the database information to use that you collected earlier. Input the database name, username, and password. Save and continue once you are done.

After that, the actual installation will begin automatically.

The final step is to set up some basic information about your site such as the site name, site email address, default country and default time zone. In the end, you need to decide whether your site should check for updates automatically and notify you if any are available. Once satisfied, save once more and you are done with the installation.

Setting Up Your Drupal Website

If you are not a tech-savvy person, you are probably already dizzy at this point. But that was just the process of installing Drupal. Setting up a Drupal website from scratch is an even more challenging job. Unlike services like Squarespace, Drupal is not designed for college students who need a professional-looking portfolio of black-and-white photos of themselves on the web to impress employers. Setting up a Drupal website is a process with a long learning curve. It involves many decision-making and designing skills.

As previously mentioned, Drupal can offer such features as user-account management, SEO enhancement and multilingual integration. Millions of users should be able to visit a properly set up Drupal site, create accounts and interact with the site’s contents without problems. But deciding whether to have each feature, how each feature is to be configured and translating all these decisions to your actual web design can be an arduous job.

For all the reasons above, a Drupal website is best set up by a trained professional. At ITC, we develop websites using Drupal 8 and Magento. Contact us to know more.

A Drupal 8 Website for Leica

Leica camera AG is a legend and one of global leader in the photography industry and premium-segment manufacturer of cameras, specialised in street photography and sport optics products. ITC was honored to cooperate with Digital Luxury Society and optimise the Chinese website by implementing Drupal 8, the first time for the iconic brand in China, and improve the entire site structure to create a smooth user experience for Leica's Chinese customers.

Discover the Drupal website built in China for Leica

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