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Private Messaging in Drupal – Yes, Like a Social Network

DrupalEver pined for a mechanism by which you would be able to send and receive text messages immediately without page reload? Well the latest module developed by Drupal does just that. Initially Drupal was started only as an open-source Content Management system that contained basic features such as account registration and maintenance, menu management, sys admin and layout customization. Over time it built additional modules that offered customized features such as WYSIWIG editors, image galleries, third party integration and private messaging.

Its module Privatemsg (developed more than 10 yrs ago) opened users to community sites and forums by allowing them to send private messages to each other. You could send and receive private messages between multiple recipients, search messages, make threaded conversations and receive e-mail notifications of new messages.

Node.js module allows for building real-time features by providing an API for socket-based polling and pushing of updates to open connected clients. Once you build real-time dashboards, clients have the power to respond faster to activity on their side.

This has been taken to the next level with private messaging with node.js module that eliminates page reload and increases the speed manifold by integrating the already existing functionality in drupal with node.js. The crucial advantage here is that since Node.js does not overload the server, the process of exchanging private messages is accelerated substantially.

Here, the User is capable of sending and receiving messages without reloading the thread page. The User is also capable of receiving a new message alert on every page. Again, without the page being reloaded. One of the more interesting features in this module is that the User can open mini chats to open communication on several threads at a time.

Other attractive features include the option to select between dialogue page and mini chat, typing indicator and notification sound settings.

The built-in module of the API ensures that it is now easier to add, expand or modify anything and fits perfectly well for any website, especially where faster communication between users is required.

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4 Ways to Create a Good Website on a Small Budget

WebsiteHaving a good website is necessary to generate leads and sales thereof, for your business. But how do you create a website that does not exceed the budget but still delivers on performance?  As a new entrepreneur on a shoestring budget, the thought of investing in a website can be quite scary, which is why we share with you 4 top notch tips for creating a website well within your budget:

1) You could simply develop a one-page landing page instead of a full-fledged website. Once you generate leads from that landing page, you can invest again into your business to create the website you want. You could use software like Optimize Press or Lead Pages to create a landing page, cutting costs as well as making it easy for you to edit and maintain the page by yourself.

2) Another option you could avail is purchasing a WordPress website template and then have your web developer simply install the theme on your site (and customize it to your brand). If you go via this route, you will find that a lot of developers would lower the cost of their total packages for you. (P.S.: Don’t get a free WordPress template. Not only is that going a bit overboard in the cheap stuff department, it is also settling for mediocrity as the template there are no good!)

3) If you’ve hired somebody to develop a custom website for you, get a designer to do mock up of the home and interior pages in the first place. This way, you let the developer know precisely what you want and also have a graphic design file (editable) to use, which enables faster coding by the developer. If you fail to do a mock up first, you either end up with a design you don’t like, or you end up wasting a lot of money on having the developer alter the code to fit your revisions.

4) Sometimes, what increases your website development costs are plugins that integrate with your marketing software (email). Therefore, if you intend to capture people’s talking points on your site (which is a necessity), using LeadPages’ “LeadBoxes” feature is an easy way to set up opt-in boxes without any special coding involved.

If you take these suggestions, you will have to invest some money into your website of course, but it will cut some of the costs for you to make the investment easier on your cashflow.

 

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5 Advantages of Using CMS for Your Website

cmsYou can build a site even without a content management system. So, why then is a CMS required? And, why exactly are businesses moving towards CMS driven sites? These are some of the questions that we wish to answer in this article as we discuss the benefits of using CMS for your website.

1. Its Easy For the Novice

All users are not techies, and so the functionalities of CMS are designed in such a way that they can be understood even by those who have little introduction to programming. If you can use the word processor, then you can use a CMS too.

2. It Allows Multiple Users

A Content Management System makes it easy for you to manage roles and publishing permissions for all users so that only those who you allow can publish content and it only goes live when you are ready.

3. Streamlined Scheduling

Any CMS worth the name will provide you an at a glance view of all the content’s status, those that are live, under review or draft. CMS allows you to assign tasks and see to it that they have been done. It makes it easy to integrate the content with your marketing plan and ensures all-round transparency.

4. Easy To Make Changes

Making changes to your site’s structure and content has never been easier. CMS separates the content and design, keeping them in two different virtual boxes. So, you can make changes to the design while the content remains untouched. You can also make changes in your administrative dashboard and propagate it automatically to the entire site. This is great from the branding point of view as it gives your site a consistent appearance.

5. Improves Site Maintenance

Sorting maintenance issues in a non-CMS site can be extremely difficult as you need to make changes separately in each page. You needn’t do that in a CMS as the underlying architecture is the same and you can add functionality just as you would update content.

 

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8 Reasons Why Drupal Is the Best CMS for Your Ecommerce Platform

Drupal CommerceWhich is the best CMS to develop an integrated ecommerce platform? You might have standalone platforms such as Magento and Prestashop, but they won’t do if you can’t integrate them with a decent CMS.

The problem in trying to integrate two distinct platforms this way is that their extensions tend to be bolt-ons rather than integrate to make a full-fledged content management system. The result being they aren’t as functional as you need and you end up spending hours getting the two platforms to look the same and integrate well.

What you actually need is a platform where CMS and the ecommerce segments are on an equal footing. Drupal does this perfectly which is why we list 8 reasons why you must have Drupal Commerce for your new ecommerce platform:

1. Drupal is easily the best CMS and online marketing platform. Drupal Commerce being integrated into Drupal ensures that both users and customers have the best experience when using your ecommerce website.

2. Development time is less when compared to a two-platform system as you needn’t develop and maintain custom integration between two separate systems.

3. You need not develop two separate versions of your visual templates, and manually configure the CMS with product information.

4. Maintenance and management of a Drupal site is easier since you have only one set of tools for to learn. Also, Drupal’s management tools are highly lexible and configurable for any administration task you might have in mind.

5. SEO and website analytics are a lot easier to control as you have to work with only one system. Optimizing customer journey is much easier too.

6. Drupal’s order management tools too, are part of the same administration toolset found in the CMS, enabling you to view, update and manage the orders on the website. You can send update notifications via the website (To ensure that all correspondence relating to the orders is kept in one place, allowing an audit trail to be created).

7. Reporting and analytics tools that let you view how many visitors the website receives and the rate at which those are converted into customers, and statistics of order value and frequency.

8. Drupal offers granular user and role management that you can use to control access to functionality within the CMS and the online store, as well as controlling the features available to your customers.

 

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Key Components of a Drupal Website

How do you start a Drupal project? What are its requirements? And how do you make use of the extensions and add-on modules? These are just some of the questions that we are going to look at in this article.

Drupal DevelopmentTechnically speaking, a Drupal project should kick-start with thorough planning. This means getting to know various aspects of what you would need in making the website and where to get them from. Familiarity with the basics of Drupal is a necessity.

The task of organizing the ingredients is much clearer with a vision of who ultimately is going to use the site and which segment of users would interact with the site most frequently. With a basic idea of content organization and the role of Drupal taxonomy in organizing it, the task is much easier.

Once the scope of the project has been decided, issues relating to project time, budgeting, critical decision making, time framing, and other such components would automatically fall into place.

Of the many things that you need to do before you start off your project is download the official core files of Drupal. The core files are a mix of various themes and modules that are essential in building a planned website.

The various installation profiles that facilitate a quick and easy and set up of core Drupal along with the contributed themes, modules, (and configuration) can be downloaded in one shot. The profiles can be tailored to suit specific user requirements on a need basis. If you find the Drupal library not having a specific module that suits your purpose, you have the freedom of creating a module and contributing it to the Drupal community.

The add-on modules let you extend or build the core functionalities of drupal. The add-on modules, run the risk of not functioning properly since they are not part of the core files.

The next ingredient for a good Drupal site would be drupal themes, which helps give a site the desired look and feel. Before you download the themes, do ensure that these themes are compatible with the Drupal version you use. For instance, the themes released for version 5 might not work for version 6. A complete index of themes can be downloaded from the official Drupal site. You can always take the help of theme engines to control the interaction between the themes and Drupal.

 

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Emerging Web Design Trends

As a new 2015 dawns, newer design trends too, have blossomed in the spring. It is imperative for developers to see to it that their websites are designed according to the latest trends. In this light, this article discusses the emerging trends in web design and what they portend for the future.

web-design-trends-for-20151. Code Free Design Practices

• It’s now time to say goodbye to tedious coding and welcome web design practices that are functional and responsive.

• Code free design is a key game changer that makes web design easier and more effectual.

2. Flat Design

• Flat design and flat icons will remain hot trends during this year as well.

• Drop shadows and faux texturing which were used so far will be replaced by bold colours and simple icon designs.

3. Single Page Design

• Though single page design is unfeasible for ecommerce website, it is best suited for blog and news sites.

• It helps you to covey a direct message to visitors and help them stay focussed on important details

4. Full Width Backgrounds

• Screen borders with page margins may become things of the past

• The rising trends are full width background images that fill the screen completely with text over them

• This will definitely help provide a great online experience to your visitors.

5. Responsive Design

• This has remained a dominant trend for almost two years now and will continue to hold sway

• Responsive website lets users access your device on a wide array of devices.

6. Fixed Web Bar

• Accessing the website menus could be tedious for longer webpages. Fixed header bar is an ideal solution for this.

• It lets visitors swiftly access the menus, thus improving the navigation experience.

7. Parallax Scrolling

• Parallax scrolling has truly made webpages come alive. Webpage background images and texts are animated, as your user scrolls down.

• It makes users feel like they’re interacting with the pages.

If you’re one of those looking to develop a responsive website, Openwave could be a choice to consider!

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Web Design

 

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How SEO and UX Can Together Improve Web Development

Among the many factors that go to determine user experience, SEO has come to be seen as a crucial one that determines a website’s conversion rate. A holistic view of SEO is key for a Web development project to reach its full potential. In this article, we look at how SEO and UX professionals can work together to fulfill a website’s goals.

SEO and UXHere’s how you get started.

Make Pressure Work for You, Not Against

First, you need to recognize that many UX and marketing experts see themselves on opposite sides of the fence. This is often the problem in the industry, but a healthy team can use this competition to improve development. SEO and digital marketing need to work in collaboration, rather than in isolation.

Create Site Goals and Reference Them during Decision making

Before moving onto design, content or marketing, UX and SEO must have a common understanding of a website’s goals. Creating buyer and user person as for a business is extremely important to help guide decision-making throughout a project. Ask yourselves the following questions when you find it difficult to come to a decision:

• What goal is achieved by this decision?

• Is this the best way to achieve our goal?

• Will it satisfy the user?

• How will it impact the user’s decision-making?

• Will this decision drive conversions?

Do not Create Content in a Vacuum

Firstly, you should not begin to write content without design in mind. Also, the design should never dictate the essence of your content. Determine the best method for developing content– determine the site architecture, the pages that need to be created or rewritten, the size of the content and the design elements that should be used.

A team effort for content structure will prevent delays, but most importantly it will result in better user experience. Quality content leads better conversion. Well-written content without the support of design elements will be lost on the customer. And quality design with bad content will invariably prevent users from trusting the message a brand is trying to deliver.

Prepare to Evolve

If you’ve ever been part of a web development project, you’ve mostly realized that you are never “over” with a project. User needs and web practices undergo constant evolution and it is essential that the project needs to evolve to keep pace with it. After launch, UX and SEO teams should test real-time and determine site performance and make iterative site changes.

 

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